Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Barefoot Contessa’s Steak with Arugula

We have fallen head over heels in love with a hot juicy steak topped with cold peppery arugula dressed in a tart lemony vinaigrette and finished with sharp Parmesan cheese shavings. It’s a one-dish easy dinner that comes together in a snap and is from Garten’s How Easy is That?  You could call it Ina’s beef version of Parmesan Chicken Salad, which is also one of our all time favorites, featured here with the recipe and shown below. If you’ve fond of that recipe, you’re going to love the steak version.

Serving the greens really cold is the secret to this recipe. We filled a salad bowl with arugula and put it in the refrigerator to chill while the steak cooked and didn’t remove it until the steak was ready to slice. The contrast of the cold salad with the hot, juicy steak is like a well orchestrated party of opposites in your mouth. Trust me, you’re going to love it.

Thanks to a tip from our butcher at our local Publix supermarket, we have discovered a relatively inexpensive a cut of steak called a “shoulder tender.” It costs around $6.99 a pound, sometimes less if it’s on sale. Ina called for rib eyes, but of course you could use any cut of steak since the steak is sliced in the final presentation. Keep an eye out at your market or ask your butcher if a shoulder tender is available in your area. It is a relatively low fat version of most steaks. It's also very tender, not quite as much as a filet of beef, but more tender than a NY strip. We’ve been very pleased with the quality as well as the price.

Shoulder Tender
If you can’t find or don’t like arugula, try fresh watercress or baby salad greens. Ina grilled her steak, (see link to Ina's version that is included in the recipe below), but we successfully did a quick sear in a very hot iron skillet on the stove. Perfect for those of us that don’t (yet) have a grill. Whether you grill the steak or pan sear it, you will definitely not be disappointed in this recipe.

Steak with Arugula
Adapted from How Easy is That? by Ina Garten, serves 2, easily doubled
Printable Recipe

Steak ingredients:
1 shoulder tender, about ¾ of a pound (or 1” thick boneless steak cut of your choice such as a rib-eye, 1 per person)
1 tablespoon good extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the steak(s)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fleur de sel or any good finishing salt for serving

Salad & vinaigrette ingredients:
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Fleur de sel or Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil
5 to 6 ounces baby arugula
1 small chunk of imported Italian Parmesan cheese

If you are grilling the steaks, prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals or turn a gas grill to medium-high heat.

Brush steak(s) lightly with olive oil and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and refrigerate until serving time. Meanwhile, place lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Fleur de sel sal, and freshly ground black pepper  in a small jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well to combine, then add the olive oil and shake well again. Set vinaigrette aside.

Set a heavy cast iron skillet on the stove over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil starts to sizzle, add the steak(s) and cook for 5 minutes, then turn and cook the other side for 5 minutes, then check for doneness. The steaks will be medium-rare when the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Continue to cook until desired degree of doneness (we prefer ours rare to medium-rare.) Remove steaks to a plate, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

While the steaks are resting, remove the salad bowl with the arugula from the refrigerator, give the vinaigrette a good shake, then toss the arugula with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Taste for seasonings and add more Fleur de sel and pepper if needed. Divide the cold arugula among individual plates, then slice steak(s) and place the steak slices on top with arugula. With a vegetable peeler, shave some long slices of Parmesan over individual salads, season the steak slices with a little more Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper and serve hot.

For better viewing, click photos to enlarge. 

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms and Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen. 

Have a nice weekend everyone and thank you for visiting My Carolina Kitchen.


  1. A fantastic steak salad! I will have to cook steak a bit longer..

  2. I will check my Pubix for this cut of steak Sam. We will have this over the weekend. Thanks to you and Meakin.

  3. I love the chicken version of this, so I know I would love the steak version. Is the cut of the steak you mentioned tender?

    1. Yes, it is very tender Penny. Not quite as tender as a filet of beef, but tenderer than a NY strip.

  4. Sounds wonderful! Will give it a try soonest!

  5. I learned a new cut, I have not heard of “shoulder tender.” I will be on the lookout. I think this will be delicious with almost any steak.

    My friend taught me how to make a steak. She said take a steak out of the refrigerator to take off the chill, then 5 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other. My life got so much better after that. I now find it to be funny that I was making my life so hard.

    As always, you always make such good food.

  6. Sam, I love steak salads...although I really like the chicken version as well. Nice simple salad dressing... These versions are also visually appealing! Healthy too! I'd favor the ribeye cut as they usually have better marbling with more flavor. I've never tried grilling a steak in our big iron frying pan so I'll have to give it a try. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  7. I love steak salads. And you never can go wrong with a Ina recipe. The arugula is a hearty peppery green that can stand up to steak really well. And lemon vinaigrette..... well, everyone knows how I feel about lemons (love them) and lemon juice brightens the greens in a salad nicely.

    Hope all is well with you!

  8. Sounds like a perfect light meal Sam, very nice!

  9. Great looking meal Sam - steak cooked just right.

  10. This is definitely my kind of salad- it looks beautiful and delicious but also satisfying (some salads aren't!). Thanks for sharing!

  11. Sam I love meat w/ salads on top..:) all that vinaigrette makes meats taste better:)
    Happy to know of that cut..we have a new Publix in FL..sparkles..will look:)
    Your salad has all the colors of a watermelon radish.Lovely.

  12. We know arugula as rocket here and we grow it and love it. It is really the only salad my husband likes with spinach - lettuce is for rabbits!!! Now all we need to do is find a nice piece of beef which is not cheap here! I am hooked on steak tartare (yes he likes that as well) so generally I go for fillet which is even more expensive! Will have a look around and see what I can find. Have a great weekend Diane

  13. This looks delicious. I recently had a salad topped with beef and loved every bite. I know I would enjoy this one.

  14. I had never heard of that cut of meat before! Something I'll need to ask my butcher about. Our son-in-law was the first to initiate us into serving meat with arugula. It's peppery tastes is such a perfect match with steak. I love those big shaves of Parm on top too!

  15. What a beautiful salad Sam. And I'll have to look for that cut of meat. Never heard of it. Arugula and lemon is such a great team. It's been awhile since I've purchased some. Thanks for the reminder.

  16. Sounds delicious and so simple. I love recipes like that. Thanks for the tip about the steak too, haven't heard of that one.

  17. Perfect, Sam! And something to remember when we are bbqing in the summer...using leftover steak in a salad is delicious.
    The flavors here are pure and simple. Love this!

  18. This looks fabulous, Sam. I love arugula and iIna Gardner's recipes!

  19. This is a dish that shows up a few times a year during grilling season. Your photo is mouth-watering. Perfectly cooked. The ease is perfect - and the reward is huge.

  20. What a fantastic dish to bring in Spring, we will just love it! Hope you have a very special week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Miz Helen


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