Grilled Steak with Celery & Anchovy Salad from Sunset
We all know the saying “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. This can also be a fairly speedy route to the female heart as well. Staying in and making your date dinner (or making it together) rates high on the romance scale. You get to show off your creativity and appreciation for nuance & details, even if it’s a simple dish. No different from putting an outfit together. That’s what this series is about. She or he will be left impressed, and you won’t need the skills of Wolfgang Puck.
- Familiar Ingredients: everything should be familiar, even if you’ve never cooked with it before
- Not So Familiar Ingredients: possibly anchovies, do not fear the little fish
- Number of Pans/Pots you’ll need to make this dish: blender or food processor for the dressing, small bowl for the salad, grill for the steaks
Does the thought of anchovies make you turn your nose up at this dish? Unless you grew up eating them, which a lot of Americans do not, you likely aren’t a big fan of these little canned fish. They pack a strong flavor, and thus often end up with a limited fan base. But anchovies can add GREAT flavor to dishes, and when prepared the right way, the fishy flavor will be masked by other ingredients. And that happens to be the case with this dish. The anchovies are used to create a dressing/marinade, similar to ceasar dressing.
Anchovies also pack a good nutritional punch at 8 grams of protein per serving, and they’re a good source of omega-3’s, calcium, iron, and selenium. Pair that with the steak, and this dish will keep you and your honey satisfied for hours. You can serve it with a side of grilled veggies, roasted potatoes, or a grain like rice or quinoa. Just a warning, this dish has a garlic kick to it. Be prepared, just in case you’re planning on laying a big one on your date at some point in the evening.
Some words of advice to help you prepare this dish successfully:
Anchovies – The anchovies will most likely come in a little tin with a pop top, and an easy way to drain them is to just pop one side without peeling the lid back, and holding the tin vertical so the oil can drain out of the opening. Once the stream of oil slows to a drip, you’re good. Peel the lid back and dump those suckers in the blender or food processor.
Celery – Even if celery isn’t your favorite vegetable, give it a try in this recipe. The dressing adds a lot of flavor that mellows out the celery, and the crunch from the celery adds a surprisingly pleasant texture to this dish.
Love that celery crunch!
Lemon – If you don’t own a citrus zester, use a sharp knife or serrated peeler to shave off some of the yellow rind (try to avoid the white pithe, which is bitter), then chop a bit before tossing in the blender.
Steaks – Don’t overcook them! 6 to 8 minutes total will give you a medium rare steak. Cook them for about 10 minutes for medium. Here’s a guide to help.
Toasted Almonds – Almonds can go from toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds, so when toasting the almonds dedicate yourself to just keeping an eye on them. All it takes is putting the sliced almonds in a pan over medium heat, stirring or tossing them every 10 to 15 seconds until they start to turn a light brown. Once they start turning brown remove them from the pan.
Parsley – The recipe for this dish calls for the parsley bunch to be held upside down in one hand, and with a sharp knife in the other, the leaves to be whacked off mid-air (calm down Beavis). I have no idea how this method works, I was afraid to swing a sharp knife through the air to try and cut the leaves off the parsley. So, another way is to just cut the leafy tops off the parsley bunch on a cutting board, then give it a rough chop.
Final Note: I made guinea pigs of my husband and a close friend for this meal, and said friend brought over a delicious bottle of Spanish tempranillo, which paired perfectly with the steak. Keep the wine on the lighter and drier side. Go with a red from Spain, Italy, or France, they tend to show those characteristics more often than wines from the US.
Sarah is a self proclaimed foodie and contributor to theprettyguineapig.com. She’s pretty open to seafood, but refuses to ever try this, even if it supposedly can be made palatable. Check out more Make It For Your Date Ideas here. (Photo credit for the fishy fishy)