What's in a name? Well, to start, dried chipotles. Some crushed coriander. Many smoky things. Some tender meat. A mean dinner salad.
To give you some background, I like salads because I'm a greedy Taurus, not because I'm a health nut. My salads aren't chock-full of nuts and berries, they're topped with (good) fats and (seared) meats. This salad does not stop short. The star of the show is this amazingly smoky flap steak that might actually surprise you. I recently at ate Lalito NY for the first time and felt really inspired by the West-Mex vibes they were bringing. Everything was fresh and for the most part light but the Mexican flavors were very much present. This past Saturday I was craving those flavors again, and not pico-de-gallo Mexican, but earthy and smoky Mexican. To my slight surprise, this creation did not disappoint.
I always say the key to a good salad is many textures, and that's why there's so much going on in here. Mellow, salty, crumbly queso fresco, crunchy oven-roasted corn and radishes, bitter crisp greens, sweet-like-candy tomatoes, smoky and chewy steak, all drowning in my favorite cilantro lime dressing. You're going to love this salad, and if you don't, well, I wasn't quite prepared for that.
Buen provecho, friends!
Serves: 2 Time: 2.5 hours.
- 1 lb flap (skirt or hanger works) steak
- 1 lime
- 1 cup chunked mango
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 3 whole star anise
- 3 dried chipotle peppers
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp kosher salt, more for searing
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 pound bag leafy greens (I used a mix of arugula, chard, baby kale)
- 2 ears of corn
- 3-4 radishes
- 1 dozen grape tomatoes
- 1/2 c queso fresco
*Note: if you do not have a sous vide machine you can still make this recipe! For the steak, you're going to want to make a marinade with canned chipotle chilis instead of dried ones. Still incorporate the other ingredients, just make a marinade/wet rub instead of stuffing a sous vide bag with the spices. Marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours and sear for 4-6 minutes on each side in a screaming hot cast iron skillet.
- Preheat your sous vide circulator in a large pot or bucket of water. I like my steak medium rare and I recommend in that way. That can be anywhere for 129-134 degrees.
- Crush the star anise, chipotle, and coriander with a mortar and pestle or with a grinder.
- In a large bowl, combine the star anise, chipotle, cumin, coriander, paprika, mango, salt, sliced lime, and crushed garlic. You should have a damp mixture of ingredients varying in size.
- Carefully layer your steak and flavor mixture in a bag so that most of the meat is touching something that will give it flavor. Although the steak is in a sealed bag with all of the ingredients, you want as much surface area touching them as possible. We're going to Flavortown, remember?
- Stick the bag into your pot with the sous vide circulator and set a timer for 2 hours.
- Let an hour pass, then preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large cast iron skillet or a sheet pan, stick the ears of corn and radish in the oven for 30 minutes. Keep the oven on!
- While the veggies are roasting, make your dressing! There will be extra and that's OKAY!
- Prepare all the fixin's for your salad: crumble the queso fresco, slice the grape tomatoes, cut the corn kernels off the cob, thinly slice the radish, and wash your salad greens.
- Once your timer goes off, remove the steak from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Get a cast iron skillet hot in the oven.
- On a medium-high stove, finish off the steaks with a 30 second sear on each side. *This is for color purposes, you do not want to COOK your steak, that is what the circulator just did!
- Allow the flap steak to rest for about 10 minutes while you plate your salads with everything but dressing and meat.
- Slice the steak, and carefully place it on your finished salads. Use dressing liberally.