; Supermarket Serenade: All Hail The Jalapeno

Thursday, April 10, 2008

All Hail The Jalapeno

(Picture from National Cattleman's Beef Association)

The thing I love about cooking with jalapenos is that they can be very spicy but with a few twists of the knife to remove the seeds and the membranes, they can be mild. When I am at the supermarket, I try to find medium sized jalapenos for this recipe, which happens to be a personal favorite of mine: it combines spicy steak, tropical fruits and a delicious roasted jalapeno vinaigrette. OK, it's also my favorite because I won $10,000 for it at The National Beef Cook Off in 2007. Not bad for a salad. Truth be told, I like it spicy, so I usually leave a lot of seeds in the dressing. But if you prefer mild, just scrape well.

Pepper Steak Salad with Mango, Avocado and Jalapeño Vinaigrette40 to 45 minutes

2 boneless beef top loin (strip) steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)
2 to 3 jalapeño peppers
1 to 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
8 cups mixed salad greens
1 mango, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 small avocado, cut lengthwise into 8 slices
1 shallot, very thinly sliced and separated into rings
2 tablespoons shaved firm Cotija or Parmesan cheese

Jalapeno Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place jalapeño peppers on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 11 to 13 minutes or until evenly blistered and blackened. Place in food-safe plastic bag; close bag. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes until skins are loosened.

2. Press black pepper evenly onto beef steaks. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 10 to 12 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Remove from grill; let stand while preparing vinaigrette.

3. Meanwhile prepare Jalapeno Vinaigrette. Remove and discard skins, seeds and membranes from jalapeño peppers. Place peppers, lime juice, cilantro, water and salt in food processor container. Cover; pulse on and off until combined. With motor running, slowly add oil through opening in cover, processing until well blended.

4. Arrange salad greens on serving platter. Fan the mango and avocado slices over greens. Carve steaks into slices; season with salt, as desired. Arrange over salad. Top with shallot; drizzle with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 369 calories; 21 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 12 g monounsaturated fat); 60 mg cholesterol; 272 mg sodium; 19 g carbohydrate; 5.1 g fiber; 30 g protein; 8.4 mg niacin; 0.8 mg vitamin B6; 1.4 mcg vitamin B12; 3.5 mg iron; 29.5 mcg selenium; 5.3 mg zinc.

Cotija is a firm white cheese from Mexico; it is a salty, flavorful cheese that compliments the peppery flavors in the grilled steak. If you are unable to locate Cotija Cheese you may use Parmesan Cheese, which has a similar texture. To shave the cheese, use a vegetable peeler and slice off thin strips of cheese.


Tracy said...

It's funny how $10 grand can make a recipe your favorite, isn't it? :-)
I'm glad to have a reminder of this recipe. I have a son who loves hot food but not many veggies. I wonder if there's a way I can used that jalapeno vinaigrette to my advantage ... hmmm...

Good luck with the blog! If you write it, they will come ... but it takes awhile...

Veronica said...

I use that vinaigrette on lots of veggies...I think though that mixed with the fruit and the spicy vinaigrette maybe he won't know he's eating veggies?! It's worth a try!