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Homemade croutons and a creamy basil + blue cheese vinaigrette make a statement in Rach's "Steakment" Steak Salad.


For the croutons:
  • 2 Italian sesame rolls or a few thick slices stale bread
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
For the dressing:
  • ¾ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar or sugar
  • 10 to 12 small leaves basil, about ½ cup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • About ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • About 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
For the steak and salad:
  • 2 pounds boneless thin-cut sirloin steaks, 4 steaks, OR flank steak, cut into 3 to 4 pieces
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground sage, ½ a palmful
  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated garlic, ½ a palmful
  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated onion, ½ a palmful
  • Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
  • Non-aerosol olive oil cooking spray
  • 12 slices meaty bacon
  • About 8 cups chopped escarole and romaine hearts, combined
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1 cup semi-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup packed celery tops, torn basil and flat parsley leaves
  • 1 small white or red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • ½ cup drained cornichons, thinly sliced lengthwise


Serves: 4


Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Line a small pan with foil for croutons. Line a second rimmed pan with foil and insert a wire rack and arrange sliced bacon.  

Tear bread into small bite-sized pieces. Heat a skillet over medium heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, melt butter into oil, add bread and toss to coat, season with salt and pepper, arrange on baking sheet, and bake 10 to 15 minutes until deeply golden. 

Bake bacon 15 to 18 minutes to very crisp, cool to handle and chop into ½-inch bacon bits.

Place all the dressing ingredients in food processor and process until smooth, then transfer to squirt bottle or airtight container. Dressing will keep about 10 days in refrigerator.   

Preheat a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.

Bring steak to room temp and pat dry. In a small dish, combine sage, granulated garlic, granulated onion, salt and pepper. Season the meat liberally on both sides. Spray pan with olive oil and cook steaks 8 minutes, turning occasionally, for medium doneness. Let the steaks rest.   

Place the greens in large mixing bowl with celery, semi-dried tomatoes, herbs, onions, blue cheese crumbles and as many croutons as you like – leftovers will keep 7 to 10 days in foil or airtight container - then dress the salad with vinaigrette. Arrange the salad on large board or serving platter, top with sliced cornichon and bacon.

Slice the steak ¼-inch-thick against the grain and arrange across the top of the salad.