Caprese Salad w/ NY Strip & Arugula Pesto

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Caprese Salad w/NY Strip Steak & Arugula Pesto

     It has been scorching over here in Pennsylvania lately…so I’ve been looking for a salad that is satisfying and packed with protein.  I love pesto!  I usually drape it on the top or the side and dip the items of my dinner or salad in it.  This time around…I was thinking about arugula.  It’s peppery, intense flavor would be a perfect pesto.  I looked around and what do you know…it does exist.  There are many recipes out there for it…but it is very simple to make.  I have a Nutri Bullet, but a food processor will also do the job!  To add a pop of color, I used the multicolored tomatoes..the pure white of a mozzarella ball and sprinkle ribbon cut basil all through the dish.  I seared the steak…and used the “Laura test” to make sure it was done the way I wanted it to be done.  Okay…the steak test wasn’t named after me…but we’re in my kitchen, so let’s pretend it was.  As it is cooking, I press my finger in the seared steak.  If it’s squishy, it’s rare…if it’s firmer but with’s medium rare…if it’s firm with little give…it’s well done.  I’m a medium rare kind of girl…but when I’m feeling extra dangerous…I’ll get it rare.  Watch my “how to make a steak” video and I go into more detail about the steak test.

I remember years ago, I went to this diner in the middle of nowhere when I was making sales visits, and I ordered a steak.  It came to me on my plate and was cut into a few times, but still together..not sliced.  They cut into it to see if it was done…and it came to me on the plate like that.  I was horrified, because the presentation was not what I would call appealing.  At this time, I didn’t even know how to cook a steak…or test when it was done…so now I was going to research how to do it.  I looked up how the major grill masters did it…and now, when I make a steak…my guests tell me “it was perfectly seasoned and perfectly done”.  Sometimes someone else’s “slip up” on details will teach you to learn it on your own and master it.  I am grateful this happened, because then I started going down the path of becoming a better cook.  This dish is simple, tasty with a slightly intense pesto flavor.  Have it on a summer day outside on the porch after a long day at work…because it is light, filling and memorable.

Caprese Salad w/NY Strip Steak & Arugula Pesto

1 NY Strip Steak – medium rare, sliced, then sliced in half

1/2 cup basil (ribbon cut)

1 cup multicolored cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)

salt and pepper to taste

Arugula Pesto:

2 cups arugula

1 large garlic clove (minced)

1 fresh mozzarella ball (chopped)

1 tbsp toasted pine nuts

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp raw sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Take the 2 cups of arugula and plunge into boiling, salted water for about 15 seconds.  Have a bowl of ice water nearby.  Once it is done boiling, remove it with a spider tool (pictured in my product reviews) and place it in the ice bath.  Swirl it around, then place it in a salad spinner, to help it dry completely.  If you don’t have a salad spinner, use paper towels to dry it as much as possible.

Place the pine nuts in a hot pan on the stove and swirl them around until you can smell the oils.  Do not leave them or let them burn.  If they do..start over.  It’s’s only a tablespoon.  Place the arugula, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste, parmesan cheese, raw sugar and olive oil in the Nutri Bullet or food processor.  Blend until smooth, add the vinegar after it blends to dilute it slightly,  then set aside for later.

Take the steak out of the refrigerator and put it on a flat surface and put salt and pepper on both sides.  Allow the steak to get to room temperature (15-20 minutes) so it cooks evenly.  Place it in the hot pan and sizzle on each side creating a seared crust. Use the “steak test” to make sure it is at the level of “doneness” that you want.  I recommend medium rare.

On a separate place, slice the cherry tomatoes in half (I recommend using Pampered Chef’s close and cut tool), chop the mozzarella ball, ribbon cut the basil and mix it all together.  Add salt and pepper to taste on the stop of the salad.

After the steak is finished cooking, wrap it up in foil and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes.  This process will give you a juicer steak.  If you cut the steak too quickly, it loses all of those fabulous, natural juices.  Slice the steak against the grain, then cut those slices in half, so it is a bite size for you to enjoy.  Place the steak on top of the salad.  Take the arugula pesto and place it either on top or on the side, so you can dip the steak and salad into it.  Enjoy!!!


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