Balsamic Steak Tips and Tomato Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Why this recipe works: this recipe only works if the steak tips brown well and form flavorful crusts, so when we cook the pieces, we turn them only occasionally with tongs instead of stirring or moving them frequently. Balsamic vinegar draws all the elements together and adds a sweet – tart accent to the meaty, salty flavors of the steak, tomatoes, bacon, and cheese. Heirloom tomatoes come in many sizes and colors; we use a mixture for an eye catching salad. Because the salad doesn’t have much staying power, we assemble it at the very last moment, just before serving. Once dressed, the tomatoes begin to release their juices, and the watercress quickly wilts.
Ingredients: serve 4
4 ounces bacon, chopped
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 ½ pounds steak tips, cut into 2 inch chunks salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 ½ pounds heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1 inch wedges or chunks
½ small red onion, sliced very thin
2 cups watercress
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup crumbled blue cheese
- Cook bacon in large skillet over medium – high heat until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel – lined plate. Pour out fat and wipe skillet. Add 4 tablespoons vinegar and simmer over medium – high heat until syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Rinse skillet and wipe dry.
- Pat steak tips dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in now – empty skillet over medium – high heat until smoking. Add steak tips and cook until well browned all over, 6 to 8 minut4es. Transfer to serving platter and tent with foil.
- Combine tomatoes, onion, and watercress in large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. And sprinkle with blue cheese and bacon.
- Drizzle balsamic glaze over steak tips. Serve with salad
Quick prep tip : Storing tomatoes
We’ve heard that storing a tomato with its stem end facing down can prolong shelf life. To test this theory, we placed one batch of tomatoes stem end up and another stem end down and stored them at room temperature. A week later, nearly all the stem – down tomatoes remained in perfect condition, while the stem – up tomatoes had shriveled and started to mold. Why the difference? We surmised that the scar left on the tomato skin where the stem once grew provides both an escape for moisture and an entry point for mold and bacteria. Placing a tomato stem end down blocks air from entering and moisture from exiting the scar. To confirm this theory, we ran another test, this time comparing tomatoes stored stem end down with another batch stored stem end up, but with a piece of tape sealing off their scars. The taped, stem – end up tomatoes survived just as well as the stem – end – down batch.