Written By: Amanda Sullivan @ At the Red Table
The other day as my husband and I were grocery shopping we came across big buckets of cheese. Well, I guess they weren’t really buckets, more like plastic quart-sized containers, the ones you’d find maybe pre-cut fruit or potato salad in. They seemed like buckets because you just don’t find cheese in containers that big very often. It was a lot of cheese — one whole pound to be exact. And the price was really good on it. I think they may have combined a number of smaller tubs of cheese into one Big Guy and reduced the price to sell it faster.
This is how my husband and I came to be the proud and somewhat intimidated owners of a pound bucket of blue cheese.
Why blue cheese you ask?
I can’t rightly say.
I’m also not sure why I just broke out the cowboy talk above.
It was an impulse buy to be sure. In fact, our whole trip was. We went in to get bananas and maybe some bread and wound up spending $96. That’s what happens when you don’t make a list and are shopping slightly on the hungry side.
Heed my words, friends: Don’t go shopping hungry and/or without a list and/or in a fancy, clean store with buckets of cheese and Husker shirts on sale at the front.
So, almost $100 later, there we were with take-and-bake pizza, a Husker t-shirt and matching socks, chips and dip, bananas (at least we got what we came for), cookies, various and sundry other items we didn’t need, plus a pound of blue cheese.
We had virtually nothing to make a meal out of, aside from the pizza, and a whole bunch of snacks. Not even a whole outfit.
Luckily, back at the ranch, I happened to have a couple of rib-eye steaks thawing and some romaine that were just begging to be showered with blue cheese — and thus was born the Balsamic and Blue Steak Salad.
It’s grilled steak over crisp romaine lettuce, dotted with whisper-thin slices of red onion, slivered almonds and blue cheese with a sweet balsamic reduction drizzled over the top.
While this salad was filling enough and tasty enough to be a complete meal, and while the combination of steak, blue cheese and balsamic may just make you drool a little, I have not even made a dent in the blue cheese yet.
I really piled it on, too.
I’m seeing a lot of Easy, Tangy Blue Cheese Sauce in our future.
Note: On the balsamic reduction, the key here is patience and an eagle eye toward the end. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn or turn into a sticky mess. I was pretty close to over-reducing it, but I think I saved it just in time. Basically, if it smells sweeter and doesn’t burn your nose hairs off anymore or make you cry like a baby (the vinegar smell has evaporated), you’re pretty close, so pay attention.
Balsamic and Blue Steak Salad
Serves 2 generously
1 rib-eye steak
2 hearts of romaine, rinsed and chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1/4 c slivered almonds
1/3 c blue cheese crumbles
1 cup balsamic vinegar
In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring the balsamic vinegar to a swift simmer. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the vinegar has reduced by 2/3 and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It should be syrupy and slightly sticky, like a glaze, but not gummy. Watch it closely toward the end to avoid over-reducing it.
Meanwhile, preheat your outdoor grill or grill pan to medium heat. Season the room-temperature steak with your favorite steak seasoning (or salt and pepper), and place on the grill. Cooking time depends on the thickness and your desired doneness, but for our steak (less than 1-inch thickness), we grilled about four minutes on one side and two on the other. Remove the steak from the grill and cover with foil to let it rest 10 minutes or so.
Assemble the salads with half the romaine, onion, almonds and blue cheese on each plate. Slice the steak into strips and place on top of the salad. Then drizzle the balsamic reduction over the whole works. Eat immediately.