Southwestern Beef Salad with Creamy Peppercorn Vinaigrette


Creamy peppercorn vinaigrette

  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1/3 c freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • ~ 1 medium lemon
  • 2 Tbsp milk (full fat)
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Southwestern beef salad 

  • grilled, chimichurri marinated flank steak (or skirt steak)
  • black bean and corn salsa (follow link)
  • grated pepper jack cheese
  • roasted red pepper peppers and onions 
  • creamy peppercorn vinaigrette 
  • Romaine salad blend

Argentinean chimichurri sauce* (see food nerd notes)

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 6 - 8 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • juice from 1/2 of 1 large lime
  • 2 Tbsp diced red onion
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Written Method:

Vinaigrette - 

Add everything to a food processor or blender and combine.  You can make this ahead of time and have it ready in the refrigerator.

Chimichurri - 

We are going to use this Argentinean "sauce" as a marinade for our beef.   The directions are the same as the vinaigrette.  Add everything to a blender and give it whirl until it is combined to your satisfaction.  If you aren't a cilantro fan, feel free to use all parsley rather than half and half cilantro and parsley.

Marinate the flank steak in the chimichurri in a ziptop bag for at least an hour or so.  You can definitely leave it in there for more.  Add the chimichurri sauce to your flank steak to get this party started.  The great part about putting it in a zip top bag is that it's easier to ensure it is contact with all the meat at the same time.  And then when you're done, you just toss it out!  You'll want to make sure you squish out all the excess air from the bag before putting it in the fridge. Just throw it somewhere in the fridge.  

For the salad - 

Make a quick black bean and corn salsa.  (Follow the link provided.)  This one is also best if you do it ahead of time, which would be a time saver for you when it comes time to put dinner together. 

Saute the onions and red bell peppers.  You can save some time by using roasted red peppers from a jar.  After your onions are mostly cooked down, add them together and let them finish heating up and caramelizing.  

On a screaming hot grill, remove the marinated flank steak from the chimichurri and grill on both sides until you achieve your desired level of doneness.  We generally prefer a medium amount of doneness.  When you take your steak off the grill, you will want to let it rest several minutes.  This will give you an opportunity to start assembling your salad.

Assemble your salad as you wish, but I started with a bed of romaine lettuce, shredded pepper jack cheese, grilled onions and peppers, your thin slices of grilled beef, some of that beautiful black bean and corn salsa, and finally - the creamy peppercorn vinaigrette.  

With flank steak or skirt steak, it is very important that you cut very THIN strips of meat, and that you cut them AGAINST the grain of the beef.  If the meat is running top to bottom, you want to cut left to right.  If you cut in the same direction as the meat is running, you will probably not be able to chew it!  Also, I recommend that you not cut with your knife straight up and down, but at about a 45 degree angle.  You want the fibers of the meat to be very short.  This is an inexpensive, tough cut of beef that we are trying to trick into being tender.  :)

THAT, my friends, is ONE HECK of a salad!  We've got crunch, creamy, smooth, smoky, sweet, oh my!! This one will never be considered "rabbit food" by any one's stretch of the imagination.