Do you think beautiful food tastes better? I do.
Of course, every once in a while you come across a beautiful dish, take your first bite, and feel disappointed because it doesn’t taste nearly as good as it looks. In my experience, though, that doesn’t happen much.
More often, a food’s level of beauty and deliciousness are relatively close together, with the gorgeousness boosting the deliciousness up a notch or two (or perhaps vice versa, but I don’t really find that a food looks prettier once I’ve tried it and know that it’s tasty…we eat with our eyes first, after all). The food looks good, so it tastes even better. I think that’s how it goes with me and figs. Yes, they’re yummy, but most of all, their colors are just so pretty. When I take a bite of fig while looking at the freshly-sliced figs that are still on my plate, the beauty of those figs makes the one in my mouth taste even better.
It has been a long time since I posted a recipe—I have just been very busy staring at figs, baby apricots, rainbow carrots, and shards of chocolate (oh, and studying for–and hopefully passing–exams in my dysphagia and traumatic brain injury classes) and taking pictures of cats. So, with my apologies, here is a beautiful salad. If you think it’s a bit strange to have a salad with stir-fried steak, I can definitely see where you’re coming from, but it’s so delicious and quick that I don’t care. The balsamic marinade is punchy, the figs are pretty (and strawberries could be an almost-as-pretty stand-in if you can’t find figs), and goat cheese makes everything better.
Balsamic Steak with Fig & Arugula Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus marinating time
Cook time: 10 minutes
For the balsamic steak:
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1 and 1/2 pounds thinly sliced sirloin, cut into strips
1 tablespoon ghee (I use homemade or Pure Indian Foods)
For the salad:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (Olave
is my current favorite)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups baby arugula
1 pint figs, trimmed and halved
2-3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
To make the marinade, process the shallot, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of balsamic, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Place the steak in a bowl or ziptop bag, add the marinade, toss to coat, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When you’re ready to cook the steak, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the ghee and swirl the pan to coat. Add the steak and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes, or until almost cooked to your liking. Add the remaining tablespoon of balsamic, cook for one more minute, and remove from the heat. You can chill the steak for an entirely cold salad, or serve it warm.
To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and honey, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the arugula with the dressing in a large bowl, then divide the dressed greens among four plates. Top the greens with the figs, steak, and goat cheese, and serve.