Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Combine steak and potatoes to make refreshing salad

By Marilyn Harris
Enquirer contributor

        How about traditional grilled steak and potatoes with a new twist for dinner tonight?

        Today's recipe combines meat and potatoes with crunchy vegetables and flavorful dressing to make a warm weather dinner in a dish. I like to make this hearty salad with a thick cut of top sirloin. Though not quite as tender as the more elegant cuts from the rib and loin, a top sirloin cut is always a good value. I find a thick boneless top sirloin cooked medium rare to medium is tender enough without bothering to tenderize it in any way. Just be sure to slice it across the grain into thin bite-sized slices.

        I prefer tiny golden or brown-skinned potatoes for this recipe. If you go to a summer farmer's market, you are likely to find exotic potato varieties. The fingerling potatoes would go wonderfully in a recipe like this. Their texture and size make them perfect choices for roasting on the grill. The small red potatoes are always readily available, and they are fine, too.

        I recommend real mayonnaise for this dressing. Even if you are fat-gram conscious, you can enjoy this one. Adding an equal amount of non-fat yogurt results in a reduced-fat dressing that is so delicious it is hard to believe it qualifies as reduced fat. The natural acidity of the yogurt, along with the fresh lemon juice and spicy little peppercorns go together to make a tangy flavor that perks up this dish.

        A good summer grilling tip: Buy two large sirloin steaks instead of just one. Serve one hot for dinner and save the second one to make this salad ahead. Cooking two meals instead of one while the grill is hot is a good idea for more than one reason. First it means it is one less time when you have to stand in front of a hot grill. Another reason for cooking ahead is to have a night off to relax. Having a prepared main dish salad ready to go in the refrigerator is a start.

Grilled Steak and Potato Salad with Green Peppercorn Dressing

2 pounds small gold or red potatoes, scrubbed
       Extra-virgin olive oil
       Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
       2 pounds boneless sirloin steak
       1 large red bell pepper, cut into small strips
        1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
        1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced
       2 teaspoons lemon juice
        1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
       Romaine lettuce leaves, washed, chilled and shredded
       1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
       Parsley sprigs
       1 recipe Green Peppercorn Dressing

        Cook the potatoes in enough salted water to cover for 20 minutes, or until they test tender with tip of a knife. Drain and cool. Cut potatoes in half. Brush cut sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

        Season steak with salt and pepper to taste. Grill over a hot grill to a medium-rare doneness. (Or to your own desired doneness.) Place the potatoes, cut side down, on the grill. Brush the peeling with oil as they are grilling. Grill until golden brown. Turn and grill for a few minutes on the second side. Slice the steak, across the grain, into 1/4-inch strips. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Toss sliced steak with bell pepper, onions, mushrooms and parsley. Gently toss in potatoes with dressing. Serve at room temperature or cover and chill until ready to serve.

        To serve, spoon onto a bed of shredded romaine. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and parsley sprigs. Makes 8 servings.

Green Peppercorn Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
       1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
       1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
       1 tablespoon water-pack green peppercorns, drained
       1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
       1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
       1 teaspoon honey

        Stir together until mixed. Cover and chill until ready to use. Makes about 2 1/4 cups dressing.

        Contact Marilyn Harris by mail: c/o Cincinnati Enquirer; fax: 768-8330; e-mail:



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