Balsamic Grilled Steak and Farro Salad
There are two classes of people when it comes to salad for dinner, the “I’ll eat salad all day, every day” group, and the “salad is just for lunch” group. Believe it or not, I used to belong to the latter category, but that was back in the day when my idea of salad was limited and naive. Now I know that a salad can be so much more than a boring, bland lettuce and protein combo! I frequently crave a big, hearty, delicious salads in the evenings- especially when it’s hot outside. This beautiful Balsamic Grilled Steak and Farro concoction is the ultimate dinner salad- it’s hearty, healthy, and flavor packed. It’s dressy enough for company, but perfect for a casual night with the fam as well. Traditional Tuscan ingredients shine in this situation- nutty parm, sweet aged balsamico, and fruity EVOO flavor Italian farro (my favorite whole grain) and juicy beef. This is an extension of a flank steak recipe from Food&Wine that I’ve been making forever- I’ve taken it a step further by tossing the cooked beef into a tasty salad, dressed with some of reserved marinade. You will find that this marinade gets really thick (especially if you’re using good, syrupy balsamic), so it’s important to loosen it up a little with lemon juice and more oil before using as a dressing. If you can’t find flank steak at your store, strip or flap steak will work as well- just make sure not to overcook the meat as these lean cuts can get tough quickly. Medium rare is my preference- juicy and pink in the middle is what you’re after. Slicing the steak very thinly against the grain also ensures tenderness. All of these textures and flavors work together in perfect harmony- chewy farro, juicy beef, crunchy vegetables, creamy Parmesan... need I say more? Yum! This meal will have you wanting salad for dinner every night. Happy cooking!
prep time: 1 hr. (includes marinating) cook time: ~50 min. serves: 3-4
BALSAMIC MARINATED FLANK STEAK
1-1/2 lbs flank steak
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
non stick cooking spray for the grill
1 cup farro
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup diced cucumber, seeds removed
1/2 cup sliced radish
1/2 cup oil packed artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shaved parmesan, plus extra for
1/2 cup combo of chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, and chives
2 cups baby arugula
good balsamic vinegar, for drizzling on top to finish
coarse salt, to finish
Prepare the marinade for the steak by combining the balsamic, rosemary, garlic, oregano, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper in the pitcher of a blender or bowl of a food processor. Blend/pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly stream in 1/2 cup olive oil until the mixture is creamy and thick. Reserve two tbsps of the marinade and set aside to make the salad dressing later. Place the flank steak in a baking dish and rub the remaining marinade all over the meat, top and bottom. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge to marinate (at least 1 hr and up to 24 hrs) while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Make the dressing for the salad by adding the lemon juice and an extra 2 tbsp of olive oil to the reserved marinade in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Whisk to combine- it should be loose and emulsified, add more oil if it’s still really thick . Check for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper if needed. Set the bowl aside. Place the farro, 2 tsp of salt, the bay leaf, and 3 cups of water in a medium pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the farro is chewy and al dente. Strain the farro in a fine colander, remove the bay leaf, and spread it out on a sheet pan to halt cooking. Add the farro to the dressing in the bowl with the tomatoes, cucumbers, and artichokes. Toss to combine. *The salad can be made up to 2 days ahead through this step- chill and cover and let it come back to room temperature before proceeding if you wish to make this ahead.
Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to high and spray the grate with the cooking spray. Remove the steak from the fridge to rest at room temperature about 20 minutes. When the grill is at temperature, lay the steak on the oiled grate, season with more salt and pepper, and cook about 4-5 minutes per side (depending on thickness), until the internal temperature registers 125 on a meat thermometer. Allow to rest at least 10 minutes and then carve into thin strips against the grain. Add the steak to the salad with the radish, herbs, Parmesan, and arugula and toss to combine. Finish the salad with a drizzle of balsamic, EVOO, more shaved Parmesan, and a sprinkle of coarse salt. Serve warm or room temperature.