Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blue Cheese Steaks with Grilled Pears and Arugula-Walnut Salad

I love to grill. During summer breaks in college, my friends would come over and we’d grill steaks, heat up some ranch beans and enjoy the weather.

     It was so great hanging out in the back yard with my buddies. As the years passed and we moved away from one another, I lost touch with that simple pleasure. It’s depressing not having friends to burn steaks with, but that has been slowly changing.

Blue Cheese Steaks

Makes 4 servings

4 boneless beef top loin steaks (5-6 oz. each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese

1. Preheat grill to medium high heat.

2. Season steaks with black pepper and Kosher salt.

3. Grill steaks over direct heat for 3-4 minutes per side.

4. Top each steak with a spoonful of blue cheese during the last minute, Let cheese melt slightly.

5. Remove steaks from grill, tent loosely with foil, then let sit for 5 minutes.

     I used about 1/3 tablespoon of pepper and salt to season each steak. The sharp flavor of the blue cheese will contrast nicely with the sweetness of the pears.

Grilled Pears
Makes 4 servings

2 Bartlett pears, quartered
¼ cup pear dressing from Arugula-Walnut salad. (see below)

1. Grill pear quarters, covered, over direct heat until slightly charred, 2-3 minutes per side.

2. Remove pears from frill and place them in a medium bowl.

3. Drizzle pears with ¼ cup pear dressing for Arugula-Walnut Salad (see following page). Toss until pears are coated and serve with steaks.

     When I prepared the pears, I made the mistake of quartering them too early. My wife caught my mistake and warned me that they might turn. We fixed my mistake by placing the pears in water with a tablespoon of vinegar. Also make sure that you core the pears. You could core the pears with a melon baller, but I prefer a paring knife because knives are cool.

Arugula-Walnut Salad
Makes 4 servings

¼ cup pear nectar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced shallots
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
8 cups arugula (3 oz.)
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, roasted

1. Whisk together pear nectar, vinegar, oil, honey, shallots, salt and pepper in a bowl. Reserve ¼ cup pear dressing to use with the grilled pears.

2. Toss arugula and walnuts in a large bowl with remaining pear dressing.

     Be careful not to burn the walnuts when roasting them. They will taste bitter if you do.

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