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~ Platter Up a Steak, Pasta, Fontina & Catalina Salad ~

IMG_2659No special marinade, no fancy ingredients, no fuss, no muss, no stress.  Yes, you read that right, and, when you and yours sit down to this start-to-finish forty-five-minute main-dish salad, if you aren't smacking your lips while plating your second helping with a satisfied smile on your face, I'll be shocked.  Of course you can embellish it (sprinkle the flank steak your favorite steak-seasoning, grill the steak along with the tomatoes and onion outdoors, and/or make the salad dressing and crunchy croutons from scratch), but, trust me when I tell you, there is no need.

6a0120a8551282970b0240a4c2b5f2200dAs a lover of sweet and tanilizingly savory combinations, Catalina dressing was always on the door of my mom's refrigerator.  While she and dad didn't, for the most part, ever stray past the bottle of Wish-Bone Italian dressing, for some reason my brother and I gravitated to this red-orange concoction.  While I enjoyed it on chef-type salads that contained "the works" (lots of cheeses and meats), my brother would drench large chunks or wedges of iceberg lettuce with it.

My perfectly-broiled 18-minute flank steak is the centerpiece... 

IMG_65571  large 2-2 1/2  pound flank steak (Note:  At approximately $6.50. per pound, this $25.00-$30.00 steak when paired with a hearty salad will feed 6-8 people.)

freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

IMG_6570 IMG_6570 IMG_6576 IMG_6576 IMG_6576 IMG_6576~Step 1.  Place flank steak on a corrugated broiler pan and let it come to room temperature about 20-30 minutes.  Season top with freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend.  Place 5 1/2"-6" under preheated broiler and cook for exactly 9 minutes. Remove steak from oven.  Flip the steak over and season second side with salt and pepper. Return to broiler and cook another 9 minutes.  Remove from oven and rest steak 9-10 minutes.

IMG_6587 IMG_6587 IMG_6587~Step 2.  Transfer steak to a large cutting board. Holding a large chef's knife at a 30° angle, thinly-slice steak, against the grain, into 1/4" pieces.  Arrange sliced steak atop salad (prepared as directed below while the steak was broiling and resting).  Top the salad with the crunchy croutons and serve immediately drizzled with 1/2 cup Catalina dressing, plus, additional dressing at tableside.

... atop a bed of tomatoey pasta, fontina & Catalina salad:

IMG_25921  pound fork-friendly pasta, drained, rinsed, cooled, dried and lightly-tossed in 1/2  cup dressing dressing (Note:  I'm using "creste-di-gallo", "rooster crest" pasta.  It's one of my favorite shapes, and, I describe it as a, tubular, elbow-macaroni shaped, frilly-edged fancy-shmancy version of penne.)

1  head romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2" strips

2-2 1/2  ounces spring mix greens

1/2-3/4  cup very-thinly-sliced red onion, cut into half-moon shapes

1  large seedless cucumber, peeled and thinly-sliced

10  ounces halved grape tomatoes

4-6  ounces shredded Fontina cheese

4  ounces crunchy, Parmesan- or Caesar-seasoned croutons

1 1/2  cups tomatoey Catalina dressing, store-bought or my scratch-made recipe

IMG_2536 IMG_2536 IMG_2536 IMG_2536 IMG_2536 IMG_2536 IMG_2558 IMG_2558 IMG_2558 IMG_2558 IMG_2558 IMG_2558 IMG_2558 IMG_2558~Step 1.  To prepare the pasta portion of dinner, in a 5-quart stockpot, bring 3 quarts water to a boil over hight heat and add 1 tablespoons sea salt. Add pasta, adjust heat to a rapid simmer, and cook to al dente, 9-10 minutes.  Drain into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water to halt cooking process, and, slightly chill the pasta.  Place pasta on a baking pan that has been lined with plastic wrap and a sheet of parchment.  Set aside to allow pasta to dry free of excess moisture, 10 minutes.  Transfer pasta to a large bowl and add 3/4 cup Catalina dressing.  Toss to coat pasta in dressing and set aside.

IMG_2595 IMG_2595 IMG_2595 IMG_2595 IMG_2595 IMG_2595 IMG_2595~Step 2.  To assemble the salad portion of dinner, chiffonade the romaine and mound it in the center of a large platter.  Arrange the dressed pasta around the romaine.  Top the romaine and parts of the pasta with a layer of spring mix, followed by a layer of onions, cucumbers and tomatoes.  Scatter shredded fontina evenly over all and follow it up with a drizzle of about 1/2 cup dressing.  Arrange the sliced steak on top, scatter the croutons around it, then drizzle the last 1/4 cup dressing over the steak.

Top salad w/sliced steak, croutons & Catalina dressing:

IMG_2654Plate a heaping helping & enjoy some carnivorous heaven: 

IMG_2689Platter Up a Steak, Pasta Fontina & Catalina Salad:  Recipe yields instructions to broil the perfectly-cooked rare- medium-rare flank steak/6-8 servings hearty main-dish salad meals.

Special Equipment List: 11 3/4" x 8 1/2" x 1 1/4" disposable aluminum broiler pan w/corrugated bottom; cutting board; chef's knife; 5-quart stockpot; colander; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; plastic wrap; parchment paper; 1-cup measuring container: large rubber spatula; vegetable peeler; hand-held box grater

6a0120a8551282970b0240a51ae87f200bCook's Note: For those who have a family to feed, current food costs are cause to take many things off the table.  That said, by purchasing a steak and serving it portioned and sliced atop a simple, uncomplicated, well-dressed salad (alongside a side of simple, uncomplicated, well-seasoned steak fries), it turns out to be kinda economical.  For another of my family's favorite steak salads (this one made with a T-Bone and dressed with Wishbone Italian) try my ~ Steakhouse Steak Salad w/Onion-Laced Steak Fries ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)


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