Winter salads tend to be heartier than summer ones, but no less delicious.
I didn’t develop this salad as much as I just sort of threw it together, but the colors and flavors worked so beautifully that I’m now planning on making a huge one and serving it at our next family function. It will be super easy to double or triple this recipe and I think it would be really great for a big group who is into eating healthy.
Over the years, my family has elevated salad making to a sport. My dad and brother are the best salad makers ever, having zero boundaries when it comes to what they add, yet keeping it puzzlingly simple at the same time. My brother once gave me a salad made of dandelion leaves, Italian tuna, and hard boiled egg, dressed with a vinaigrette. It was sublime but so simple, and although this was about 8 years ago, I can still remember it. I still have no idea how he got the dandelion to not be bitter, and I’ve never been able to replicate it.
My dad is king of the huge salad, always taking the salad bowl and eating the rest after everyone has taken their share. His salads are legendary as well. He always adds anchovies (gak – I pick those out, sorry dad), thick chunks of good parmesan, avocado, kalamata olives, and vinaigrette. When you have dinner at any of the Langer homes, you can always count on a great salad. It’s definitely a thing with us.
I started only liking Caesar salads when I was in high school, but quickly learned the family salad tradition. When I lived in California, I developed a crazy chopped salad, and a crowd of friends used to come over to eat chopped salad and watch Sex and the City in my little apartment. This salad was ridiculously good, and just plain ridiculous because of the ingredients – greens, avocado, feta or blue cheese, assorted vegetables, some sort of meat, chopped red pear or green apple, huge fancy croutons, and Girards hot spinach dressing – which you can’t get in Canada so I haven’t had it in years.
Eventually, so many people wanted chopped salad and Sex and the City that we had to mix the salad in a (clean) garbage bag because no bowl was big enough for a salad that would feed all those people. I should actually publish a version on my blog at some point but I think that Girards dressing has a crazy amount of sugar in it and I’m not sure I (or any of you) would really want to put it onto a salad like I used to.
This salad uses raw and grilled vegetables, sorghum, which is a hearty, gluten free grain, and grilled flank steak with a lemon vinaigrette to make a meal that is both beautiful and delicious, not to mention healthy. The kids actually loved this salad because it has the grilled vegetables that they always ask for – cauliflower and carrots. They even ate the steak which was awesome.
Use whatever vegetables you want in it, but try to choose in-season ones that are colorful for maximum effect. Yes, the cauliflower in the photos was really that purple.
If you don’t have access to sorghum, use wheat berries or another hearty grain.
1.5lb flank steak
2T olive oil
2T soy sauce
2T rice wine OR red wine
Salt and pepper
1 cup sorghum
5-6 long carrots, peeled and trimmed
4-5 scallions, trimmed
1 head purple cauliflower, cut into florets (you can also use white or orange cauliflower)
1 large bunch spinach, washed
Juice of 1 lemon
3-4T good olive oil – adjust according to how large the lemon is
1 small or ½ large clove of garlic, crushed
½t maple syrup
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
First, marinate the steak.
Don’t skip this step or you’ll have majorly tough steak that will be really chewy and annoying.
Place the steak and the olive oil, soy sauce, rice wine, and salt and pepper to taste into a Ziploc bag. Marinate the steak for at least a few hours and up to overnight.
IF you don’t have a lot of time to marinate the steak, poke it all over with a fork before placing it into the bag so that the marinade tenderizes it a bit quicker.
1 hour before you’re ready to eat, cook the sorghum by placing it into 4 cups of water, boiling it, and then reducing the heat and simmering, covered, until the water is absorbed. This can take up to 55-60 minutes, but keep an eye on it.
Now’s a good time to prepare the vinaigrette:
Blend all of the ingredients together and whisk to emulsify. Set aside.
Preheat your BBQ to medium-high.
Toss all the vegetables except for the spinach with salt and olive oil, and grill until soft and slightly charred.
When the vegetables are done, grill the steak for around 4-5 minutes on each side or until desired doneness is reached.
** be careful ** because this steak goes from raw to overdone extremely quickly!!! Remember that it continues to cook when it’s removed from the heat, and that it does need to rest for at least 5-10 mins after cooking.
Arrange the grilled vegetables, raw spinach, and steak on a platter or individual plates and drizzle with the vinaigrette.