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Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 12:01 am

Steak your claim


If you’re grilling steak this Labor Day weekend, why not grill extra for a second meal later in the week? Below are three of my favorite ways to use leftover steak, although, they’re delicious enough that I sometimes grill steak just to make them.

This is wonderful picnic or travel fare. It can be made several hours ahead, or even the day before, although the greens will have a wilted quality.

Pressed steak focaccia sandwich
• 1 8-inch plain or herbed round focaccia (focaccia with toppings should be thick enough to halve horizontally without gouging the top or bottom crusts)
• 2 T. balsamic vinegar
• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 T. Dijon-type mustard
• 1 lb. steak (approximately), grilled to your desired degree of doneness and cooled. Use whatever cut you like, so long as it can be sliced thinly.
• 8 oz. provolone or Swiss-type cheese (approximately), thinly sliced
• 1 large or two small roasted red bell peppers, peeled, seeded, and in large pieces
• 2 c. salad arugula or spring mix or other soft lettuces

Halve the focaccia horizontally with a long bread knife. Separate and pull out as much of the soft interior as possible while still leaving an intact shell.

Whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and mustard until combined. Brush the inside of each shell with the dressing. The bread should be well covered, but not soggy.

Slice the steak thinly across the grain and set aside.

Cover each half of the focaccia completely with the sliced cheese. 8 ounces should be plenty if the cheese is sliced thin; thicker slices may require more than that.

Cover one half of the focaccia with the roasted pepper, then cover the pepper evenly with the steak.

Mound the arugula or other lettuce evenly over the steak. Lightly press the cheese into the other half of the bread to keep it in place and then invert it over the greens. Cover the top of the sandwich with plastic wrap or parchment paper and place a heavy weight such as an iron skillet over it. Let stand for at least 1/2 hour and up to 1 hour.

Cut into wedges and serve. This can also be made with Kaiser or onion rolls as individual sandwiches. Serves 4-6.

I modeled this salad after one I ate at Chicago’s original Berghoff restaurant years ago. It’s not the something I’d have typically ordered at the Berghoff, and I don’t remember what compelled me to order it. But I’m glad I did. The tarragon dressing is wonderful, but I’ve also used a ranch-type dressing (with or without added tarragon) when pinched for time.

Steak and potato salad with fennel apple slaw and tarragon dressing

For the dressing:

• 1 large free-range organic egg
• 2 tsp. dried tarragon
• 2 T. chopped fresh tarragon
• 2 T. chopped shallot, preferred, or onion
• 1/4-1/3 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar (aka sushi)
• 3/4 c. vegetable oil, such as canola or a light tasting olive oil
• Salt and sugar to taste

For the salad:
• 1 lb. steak (approximately), grilled to your desired degree of doneness and cooled. Use whatever cut you like, so long as it can be sliced thinly.
• Salt and freshly ground pepper or cracked peppercorns
• 1 lb. cooked fingerling or baby potatoes, cut into bite-sized slices or cubes if necessary
• 1 large or 2 small heads bibb or Boston lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite sized pieces, about 8 cups total
• 2 fennel bulbs
• 2 medium tart apples, such as Jonathan or Granny Smith, cored
• 2 T. chopped fresh tarragon
• Freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1/2 c. toasted walnuts
• Crumbled blue cheese, optional

In the container of a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients for the dressing except the oil. Blend or process for a couple of minutes until the ingredients are smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream. Adjust the seasoning with salt, sugar and additional rice wine vinegar if necessary, and set aside.

Chop enough of the fennel fronds to measure 1/4 cup and combine with the chopped tarragon. Cut the stems and cores from the fennel bulbs and discard. Slice the fennel and apples as thinly as possible. In a bowl, toss the fennel and apple shavings with just enough of the dressing to barely coat and set aside.

Thinly slice the steak across the grain and set aside.

Toss the lettuce with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. Mix in freshly ground pepper to taste (or pass separately when serving) and spread on a large platter, or divide it evenly between 4-6 dinner plates.

Mound the fennel and apple slaw in the center of the lettuce. Fan the steak slices and the potatoes decoratively around the perimeter. Drizzle with a little more dressing. Sprinkle with the walnuts and the tarragon and fennel fronds. Top with the blue cheese, if using, or pass separately. Refrigerate extra dressing to use with other salads, including fruit salads. Serves 4-6.

Fried rice is a great way to stretch bits of leftovers into a full meal, and this steak fried rice is no exception. I’ve written this recipe to be flexible for any number of diners.

Fried rice with Asian-marinated steak

For the marinade:

• 3 T. soy sauce
• 3 T. apple juice or other juice such as pineapple or white grape, or water
• 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic, or to taste
• 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger, preferred, or 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
• 1 T. brown sugar or honey
• 2-4 oz. steak (approximately) per person, grilled to your desired degree of doneness and cooled.
• Use whatever cut you like, so long as it can be sliced thinly.

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the marinade ingredients. Seal the bag, then squish until everything is combined and the sugar/honey dissolves.

Slice the steak thinly across the grain. Add to the bag, seal – squishing out as much air as possible, then toss to coat the steak slices. Marinate for at least 15 minutes and no more than 30. Drain the steak slices in a colander until the dripping stops. Set aside.

For the fried rice:
• Soy sauce
• Peanut or vegetable oil
• Brown sugar or honey
• Cold cooked rice
• Beaten eggs

Vegetable suggestions:
• Sweet corn kernels
• Snow peas
• Peas
• Zucchini
• Carrots
• Broccoli
• Bell peppers, any color (using a combination adds visual appeal)
• Onions
• Scallions
• Mushrooms

Use 1 egg, 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey for every 1 1/2 cups of rice. Use as many vegetables as you want, but they should total no more than approximately 1/2 cup per every 1 1/2 cups rice. (Although it is perfectly possible to add more or less if you want.)

Stir the soy sauce and brown sugar or honey until the sugar/honey dissolves. Set aside. Beat the egg(s) in a small bowl and set aside.

Cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

Heat a little oil in a large wok or skillet. Stir-fry separately vegetables that take different cooking times. Be sure not to overcook the vegetables. They should be crisp/tender and will cook a bit longer when combined with the rice. Vegetables such as scallions shouldn’t be cooked; previously grilled/cooked vegetables need only to be warmed.

Remove each item from the pan when done, place in a bowl and keep warm. When the additions are done, heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the rice, stir to heat thoroughly, but do not brown. Quickly make a well in the center and add the eggs, stirring constantly. When they have a soft-scrambled consistency, start incorporating the rice, stirring in a circular pattern. When the eggs and rice are combined, add the steak and vegetables, then stir in the soy sauce mixture. Toss gently to combine, taste for seasoning and serve.

Contact Julianne Glatz at

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