Last night while I was trolling the refrigerator for dinner ingredients, I admit to laughing out loud when it came to me. The perfect thing would surely be a black and blue salad.
It's been a wild few days, chock-a-block with activity and emotion surrounding Felix's stellar high school graduation on Friday. We've been surrounded by family and friends and lots of fun which by last night left a fridge full of inspirational ingredients and a tired Jeff and Clare, home alone and looking for something quick and delicious for dinner. Black and blue salad was the perfect thing, and the name was just a little humourous jab administered by the universe.
The things that found their way onto the countertop to be transformed into dinner were varied and combined into a wonderful melange. As a rule, if I'm going to make a flank steak--which I highly recommend as an easy crowd pleaser by the way--I always pick up a beautiful blue cheese with which to pair it. Once you've got those two ingredients, you're well on your way to create a great salad using whatever else you have on hand. This is what I found in my stash, but anything you happen to have is likely to be just as good.
Black and Blue Salad
1 bunch of gorgeous yellow beets (which I snagged at the farmer's market on Saturday morning)
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 ounces leftover flank steak that had been marinated and grilled on Friday, sliced paper-thin
2 scallions, white and pale green parts sliced thinly
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1/4 cup english cucumber, sliced very thinly
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
6 spears roasted asparagus, chopped (leftover from Friday night)
1 carrot, peeled and grated
10 ounces organic spring mix salad greens
a few crostini (leftover from pimento cheese accompaniment), broken up into large chunks
1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces Maytag blue cheese, chopped into 1 " dice
Preheat oven to 350. Peel and chop beets into 1 " dice, (reserving green tops for subsequent meal if desired), toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and thyme and roast for approximately 15 minutes until just tender.
Remove beets from the oven, place in a bowl and toss with the fresh orange juice. set aside.
In large salad bowl, combine remaining olive oil, vinegar, sugar and mustard and mix well to emulsify (A store-bought vinaigrette may be used instead).
On top of the vinaigrette, place flank steak, scallions, grape tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, asparagus, shredded carrot and 1/2 cup of the roasted beets. Tossmelange extremely well to well cover the ingredients with the vinaigrette. This will stop the avocado from turning brown.
On top of this, arrange organic spring mix . At this point, the salad may be left for up to an hour at room temperature. If you choose to wait to serve it, dampen several paper towels, and lay them over the salad greens to keep them moist and fresh.
Just before serving, sprinkle on the crostini, pine nuts and blue cheese and toss the entire salad well to combine. Serve immediately.
By the time I left the dinner table, I was black and blue and smiling all over, and I bet you will be too.