From the Vine

The “There’s Nothing for Dinner” Dinner Salad

Dinner Salad | The Urban Grape

Dinner Salad | The Urban Grape

Obviously I love to cook, but part of keeping my love of cooking alive is knowing when to get take out. I try to plan for at least one night a week, because even the most dedicated home cook needs a freaking night off. That night was supposed to be last night, but the slowly wilting contents of my fridge made me reconsider, put on my apron, and come up with something fantastic.

Here’s what I saw when I opened my fridge – a flank steak that needed to get cooked or frozen, greens that still looked great but clearly were on their last legs, a half a head of cauliflower and two leeks that had no purpose, and a questionable yellow pepper.  Dinner is served, right? Right.

The “There’s Nothing for Dinner” Dinner Salad
Two very healthy servings

Mixed greens
Half a head of cauliflower, roasted
Yellow or red pepper, roasted
1 large leek, sliced, cleaned and sautéed
Walnuts
Dried cherries
Capers
Basil
Flank steak – marinated and cooked to medium-rare/medium

I roasted the cauliflower in the oven at 400 while I stove top roasted the pepper, then peeled and sliced it. Meanwhile, I sautéed the leeks in olive oil until they got soft and started to caramelize just a touch (red onions would be good in this salad as another option, I just didn’t happen to have one).

I marinated the flank steak in liquid aminos (so it would be gluten free, use soy sauce otherwise), olive oil, worcestershire sauce, and dijon mustard. Then I cooked it in a cast iron skillet and let it rest for ten minutes.

I had some leftover sweetened dried cherries in the cupboard and they were delicious in this salad, but any dried sweet fruit would do – raisins, currants, apricots, etc.  Any nuts will do as well. Don’t skimp out on the capers. They make the salad with their perfect salty/sweet combo. TJ got feta cheese on his salad, lucky boy.

My salad dressing was the juice of one lemon, olive oil (I like a one to one ratio, but that is too acidic for some people), a drizzle of honey, s&p, minced garlic, and a tablespoon of stone ground dijon. Shake that all up in a mason jar and you’re good to go.

I served this with the pepper, steak, and cauliflower still warm from the oven, which made the whole salad extra tasty. I freaking love warm salad. We paired it with a seriously stellar wine – the 2014 Domaine DeLarche Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. A splurge wine for a Wednesday night, but as TJ said when he opened it – “you can’t take it with you!” We actually fought for the last pour.

Was it better than take-out? Yes, yes it was…..

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