When you are used to eating a piece of meat the size of a catcher’s mitt, a 3-ounce serving, as big as a deck of cards, looks like a joke. But when cut in thin slices and combined with salad-like ingredients and a snappy dressing, 3 ounces of beef goes a lot further than you would have imagined.
Which brings us to Beef and Pepper Pesto Salad, an arranged or constructed salad with grilled steak, crumbled feta and roasted red peppers. Arranged salads differ from salads that are tossed with dressing because the ingredients are carefully placed on the plate and then doused with dressing. Whenever we make this salad, we are reminded of a steak salad we ordered from the appetizer menu at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Besides the sliced beef, it had green beans, hard-cooked egg and a tangle of greens, all tossed in a zingy vinaigrette. At the time, we were in the middle of a dietary tune-up and trying to eat smaller portions of everything, including meat. Not only did the salad sound like the most interesting dish on the menu, it was just the right size. While everyone else at the table wolfed down entree-size portions of meat, we happily made a meal of steak salad, bread and wine. When everyone cleaned their plate and the talk rolled around to dessert, we were the only ones with room for mint chocolate cake—a nice little bonus that comes with eating steak salad.
—By Jean Kressy, a food writer in Ashburnham, Mass.