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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Monday, July 2, 2012

Steak Salad with Mango, Avocado and Jalapeno Vinaigrette

I love summer salads. Grilled meat over fresh greens is such a nice, light treat on a summer evening. 

This salad is probably my favourite.  Tender strips of steak mix with the creamy avocado and tart mango in a spicy jalapeno dressing.  It makes a delicious, filling summer meal.

Here we have steak, mango, avocados, jalapenos, shallots, a lemon (lime if you have it), and a cucumber, radish and greens for the salad.  You'll also need black pepper, salt, olive oil, parsley or cilantro and queso blanco or chevre, which is optional but delicious.

First, season your steaks generously with cracked black pepper and salt.  I also added a little cumin.  Let them sit at room temperature while you prepare the salad and dressing.  I used New York Strip steaks for this, which are delicious. Tenderloin, sirloin or even flank steak are great as well.

Heat the grill to prepare the jalapenos.  Grill the peppers over very high heat until the skin is black and blistered.  You can also do this over a gas stove or under the broiler.

Once blackened, quickly throw the peppers into a plastic freezer bag and seal, or put them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  The steam will loosen the skin from the peppers for the next step.

I vary the number of jalapenos I use, based on their hotness.  It isn't easy to judge but if they are super hot sometimes you only need one.  If they're milder, use two or three.  More than once I've made the dressing too hot to handle so I always add one pepper and taste before adding more.  

Let the peppers steam in their bag for about 10 minutes while you prepare the salad. Once they're cool enough to handle, peel the blackened skin from the peppers. I use gloves for this.

Then open the grilled peppers and remove the stem and seeds.  

Add parsley (or cilantro) to a small food processor or blender along with salt and lime juice.

Toss in the seeded, skinned jalapenos. Remember to start with one and add more if you can stand the heat.

Add about a tablespoon of water and about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and blend until smooth.

Now you can grill your steaks.

Grill about 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness until they're medium rare or however you like your steak done.  Let them rest while you assemble the salad.

I assemble the whole salad in advance except the avocado, which I chop at the last minute to avoid browning.  In a bowl toss lots of mixed lettuce with cucumbers, radishes, shallots, and mango.  Just before serving, slice the avocado.

Slice the steak.

Lay the avocado and steak over the salad and drizzle with the jalapeno dressing.

Then sprinkle with crumbled chevre, feta or queso blanco if you can find it.

This salad is so delicious.  I love the spicy dressing and the way the avocado, mango and cheese complement the crisp greens and tender steak.  This is a real winner!

Here's the recipe:


2 8 oz steaks such as strip loin, sirloin or ribeye
salt and pepper

2 jalapeno peppers
juice of one lime
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons olive oil

8 cups salad greens
1 mango, peeled and sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
4 radishes, sliced
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
Chevre, feta or queso fresco cheese, crumbled


Grill jalapeno peppers over medium heat or use a gas burner on your stove to char the peppers all over. Once blackened, place in a plastic bag and seal. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes until skins are loosened.

Season steaks with salt and pepper. Grill, uncovered, 10 to 12 minutes for medium rare, turning occasionally. Remove from grill and let stand while preparing salad.

For dressing, remove and discard skins, seeds and membranes from jalapeno peppers (use gloves). Place peppers, lime juice, cilantro, water and salt in food processor. Cover and pulse on and off until combined. With motor running, slowly add oil until well blended.

Arrange salad greens on plates. Top with radishes, cucumber, mango and avocado slices.  Top with shallots and drizzle dressing over salads.  Slice steak and fan slices over each salad.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

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