Big Steak Salad

For those of you who don’t know, I have a small love affair with The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond). Real woman, real food, real life. I just adore her.

But aside from my love affair, I’ve been trying out some of her recipes At the urging of my lovely friend Suzanne who tried out the recipe first, I decided for this Thursday’s dinner feature to try out one of Ree’s personal favorite recipes: The Big Steak Salad.

In the words of Uncle Jesse on Full House….

Have mercy.

To whet your appetite, here’s a picture of Ree’s version.

In an effort for brevity, here’s the link to her post where she shared the recipe. Because the dressing/marinade is homemade, there are quite a few ingredients in it, and she has a printable version – yay!

Ree’s Steak Salad Recipe

Now that we’ve got that covered, here’s how I made my own version of this amazing (and man-approved) salad.

I absolutely love the way the dressing/marinade looks before it gets mixed up. So many delicious ingredients in all sorts of lovely layers. This gets whisked up, and half goes into a bag to marinate the meat while the other half goes into the refrigerator to use as dressing later.

I used this lovely hunk’o’beef, which I got on sale at our grocery store (no, I didn’t pay $9.17 for it). For curious minds, I just used a london broil, aka top round. It was 1.67 pounds, and which would be enough for probably 5 or 6 salads. We love leftovers!

Seal up the marinade and the beef in a gallon-size ziplock bag. I always set mine into a dish because I’m incredibly accident prone. If I were to just set the bag into the refrigerator, I would inevitably come home to a huge, leaking mess.

Once I got home, I decided to try my hand at the candied pecans. I chopped up the pecans with my lovely little chopper, which in hindsight, made them too fine – I’d recommend just getting Pecan Pieces so they’re fairly large but still bite-size. Then I spread them out into the pan.

So then I began the task of making the sugar coating. Which…did not turn out so well. Ree doesn’t give a whole lot of instruction and I think this is something a little more tricky. Mine seemed to be melting down just fine, and then I hit a moment where it suddenly turned into sand and I mildly freaked out. So I turned up the heat to medium-high and it finally melted down into the golden amber color she was talking about. Here’s how it went.

Once I finally got it to this stage, which definitely took a lot longer than five minutes – sorry Ree! – I poured it over the pecans. Which, I failed to note that Ree said you may not have to use all the sugar mixture. So I dumped it all on there. **Note: After the sand-scare, I was worried I had ruined my saucepan. However, clean-up is incredibly easy for this – I just soaked it in water for a few minutes and all the sealed-on, hard-as-a-rock sugar completely vanished. Hurrah!**

You can see that it’s more of a big glop than a nicely broken up mixture. Because it’s a glop, it hardened into this.

What’s the word for this…besides sheer-rock. Don’t they call something like this brickle? Brittle? Rock-candy? I don’t know. Either way, it was harder than molasses in January and I wasn’t feeling like attempting to break it all up into pieces. Sooo…being wasteful me, we didn’t have the candied pecans on our salads. I’m sure they’re delicious, but truth – the salad was awesome without it. And probably significantly healthier, since that sugar mixture is a CUP of sugar and a little bit of water.

So moving on. Without candied pecans. Sad day.

Also a sad day? This is what I have to use as a grill. THE GRIDDLERRR. (I always say it with a very dramatic tone of voice, because it makes it a little more exciting.) It technically has a top grill plate, but since I was only using the bottom I decided to have one less item to wash and not attach the top.

So I let my steak get nice and toasty. Since it’s a weenie little indoor grill, it took me more like 10 minutes per side to get to medium rare, not the 2 minutes that Ree talks about. But it always varies – so just cook your steak to your liking.

While it was grilling, I started assembling the salads. Ree makes her own fried onion strings, but since I have taken a solemn vow to never deep fry something in our home (I know, I’m missing out on a lot), and also because I was tired after work, I opted to just use French Fried Onions instead of making the onion strings by the recipe.

I’m a french fried onion snob and will only use brand-name, not generic. (I was not compensated in any form to say this!)

Toss up some salad, grape tomatoes, some cheese (we used shredded Italian blend, not Bleu), and the onions, and slice the steak up thin. And voila!

World’s most beautiful salad.

I hope you’re drooling. You’re not yet? Here’s a picture of TWO of the world’s most beautiful salads.

Let’s have a little “have mercy” again.

Have. Mercy.

Okay, I’m done now. You there! You! Go hurry off and make this salad! Your stomach will thank you.

And in case you don’t feel like looking for the link, here it is again. Because I’m generous. And you better remember it.

Ree’s Big Steak Salad

Happy Thursday!

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