Generally, by the middle of July, I'm already feeling ready for fall weather. I know, I know — summer's far from over and the hot weather is just getting started. To help keep my cool while the weather sizzles, I like to rely on salads that make sides unnecessary. So when my salad is boasting grilled steak and a bunch of my favorite veggies, I'm likely to grin even on the hottest day.
By splitting the ingredients for this main dish salad into grilled and fresh components, you get a main dish salad that's got a lot going on. The beef, potatoes, and asparagus bring a lot of flame-kissed flavor to the plate while items like chives, green onions, and radishes give it a fresh kick. The creamy sharp flavors associated with caesar salad are brought to the party by the cheese and dressing. Everything has a job and the combination is just fantastic.
Before I leave you to the recipe, I'd like to say a couple of things about greens. You can go an entirely traditional route and opt for torn romaine lettuce on its own, but I like a combination of greens. The salad pictured above boasted torn romaine, baby spinach, red lettuce, and hon tsai tsai — all from my CSA box. I suggest experimenting and finding blends of greens you enjoy for main dish salads. You can really change the character of a recipe by mixing up the greens and this is the perfect season to do it. Happy salading!
- 4 red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 T. cooking fat (I used bacon fat)
- 1 tsp. seasoned salt (I used Penzeys Chicago Steak Seasoning)
- 1 small beef tenderloin roast - no more than 18 ounces
- 6-8 thick asparagus spears
- 6 cups mixed greens, including torn romaine lettuce
- 3 T. chopped chives
- 1/4 c. sliced green onions
- 2-3 radishes, sliced thin and chopped to bite-sized pieces
- 3 T. grated parmesan cheese
- Your favorite caesar dressing (you can also make your own)
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat grilling. Place the potatoes into the center of a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the cooking fat and seasoned salt liberally over the top and bring the corners together to form a pouch. Place the foil pouch and beef tenderloin on the grill. After you've allowed the beef to cook for about 10 minutes, turn it using tongs, check the potatoes and if they are getting soft, leave the pouch open a bit, and carefully place the asparagus on the grill for indirect grilling.
Remove the items from the grill in the following order: asparagus, tenderloin (allow to rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes before cutting), and potatoes. Cook the beef to your desired level of doneness (I like mine between medium-rare and rare). Make sure the potatoes are tender throughout - some crisping at the edges is not only expected, it's delicious! While the tenderloin is resting, cut the asparagus spears into bite-sized pieces and set aside. You can also prepare any of the remaining salad items that need attention during that time.
To assemble the salad, divide the greens, chives, onions, radishes, asparagus, and potatoes on serving plates. Slice the tenderloin to the desired thickness and lay the pieces over the top of the salads. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, drizzle liberally with caesar dressing, and serve immediately.
- Yields: 2-3 servings
- Preparation Time: 45 minutes