Steak Salad

I’m a sucker for salads.   It’s no wonder I used to work for Sweet Tomatoes I suppose.  I don’t know why people talk about salads like they’re torture food, I find them so versatile and fulfilling.
This one is definitely at the top of my list too.  I served it with everything separate, so each person could decide how much of everything they wanted.  Which is a great way to adapt something if you don’t want to hear someone complain there’s too much Gorgonzola, or they don’t have enough steak… that would NEVER happen in my house : ) Ever.
I have found that the candied pecans freeze really well as well.  We had leftovers of those and they kept great in a freezer container for a later dinner.
I know this may seem like a long recipe with a lot of ingredients, but it really is quite simple if you look at the steps and a lot of the ingredients are for the dressing.  And if you ask me, homemade salad dressing and store-bought don’t belong in the same category.
STEAK SALAD
1 1/2 lbs strip steak, extra fat trimmed off
FOR DRESSING/MARINADE:
3/4 cups canola or olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T soy sauce
2 T lime juice
4 T brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
FOR ONION STRINGS:
2 onions, sliced very thinly
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 T salt
1/2 tsp paprika (or cayenne pepper as original recipe states)
canola oil, for frying
FOR CANDIED PECAN BITS:
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 T water
FOR SALAD:
Lettuce mix, I used romaine, arugula, and spinach
grape tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
For dressing/ marinade: Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until combined well.
Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
Place the steak in a zip top bag and pour half of the marinade in, seal tightly.
Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Prepare the onion strings: Place the onions in a dish and cover with the buttermilk.  Soak for at least one hour.
For the candied pecans: Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat and set aside.  Put sugar and water in a small pot over medium heat.  Cook to 280 degrees, which should take about 5 to 6 minutes and should be amber in color.  Remove from heat and stir in pecans quickly then pour onto baking sheet and spread pecans out in a single layer.  Cool completely.
Make the onion strings:  Mix together the flour, salt, and paprika in a medium bowl. 
Heat a couple inches of oil in a pot to 375 degrees.  Taking a hand full of onions at a time, remove from buttermilk and coat with flour mixture, shake off excess, then put in the oil.  Fry for just a couple of minutes until golden brown.  Move to a paper-towel lined dish and repeat with remaining onion strings.
Cook the steak: Using a grill or saute pan over medium high heat, cook the steak for a few minutes on each side, to medium rare.  Let rest before cutting into thin strips.
We liked serving everything separate so each person could decide what they wanted more or less of.  Use reserved dressing/marinade to dress the salad.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman
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