Broccoli Rabe and Peppercorn Steak Salad
1. On a cutting board, spread out the peppercorns between two pieces of waxed paper. Use the dull side of a meat mallet, or a rolling pin, to gently crush them. The peppercorns should be cracked, not ground. Press them into both sides of the steak. Scatter the salt sparingly on the surface—be careful, a coarse granule goes a very long way.
2. Prepare a charcoal or a gas grill, or preheat a broiler. Sear the meat well on both sides, cooking it through to the desired doneness. Transfer it to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Using a sharp chef knife, cut it across the grain into very thin slices.
3. While the meat is cooking, prepare the broccoli rabe as for poaching or boiling broccoli rabe, cooking it for 3-4 minutes. Alternatively, grill it. Drain and arrange it on a serving platter. “Shingle” the steak slices over the greens. Moisten with the olive oil and season sparingly with the salt. Alternatively, prepare one of the dressings below.
Variation with Classic French Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp. good red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. dijon mustard, a pinch of sea salt, a pinch of sugar, and pepper to taste. Then stir in 1 small shallot, minced, and let the mixture macerate. Serve over greens and drizzle with 3 tbsp. olive oil.
Variation with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Mustard Dressing: Whisk together 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard,1 large clove smashed garlic, and fine sea salt to taste
Variation with Quinoa: Before cooking the meat, put 2 cups uncooked quinoa in a sieve and rinse well under cold running water; drain and shake off excess water. In an ample saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, stir the quinoa together with 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and cover tightly. When the water has been absorbed and the kernels have popped, 10-12 minutes, turn off the heat. Allow it to settle for 2-3 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to the serving platter reserved for the steak and broccoli rabe. Arrange the sliced meat and the greens over the quinoa and dribble the dressing on top. The grains will absorb the tasty meat juices mingled with the dressing.
Variation with Potatoes: Before cooking the meat, scrub 1 pound small fingerling, Red Bliss, or new potatoes. Cover them with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until tender but not mushy. Drain and immerse in cold water to cool. Drain well and slice into approximate 1/8-inch rounds. Arrange them on the bottom of the serving platter. Top with the broccoli rabe, followed by the sliced peppercorn steak and dressing.
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