When summer finally hits its stride, you begin to understand Italian food.
Think of figs, arranged on a pretty plate and drizzled with honey. Or perfect peaches macerated in white wine and strewn with lavender. Or fresh-picked, fat asparagus, peeled, steamed, doused with fruity olive oil and topped with finely shaved shards of Parmesan Cheese.
This is heady stuff. Food for kings. At its core, Italian food only asks for simple ingredients at the peak of perfection served without fuss.
That’s what makes this recipe work so well. With only five ingredients, you can pretend you are in Tuscany: a great cut of steak, fresh arugula from the farmers market, good olive oil, lemons and big flakes of Parmesan Cheese.
In Tuscany you would be served a giant T-bone steak, which comes from the region’s Chianina breed of cattle, prized for their tenderness and flavor. For this recipe, we use sirloin strip steak, but rib-eye, tenderloin, T-bone or porterhouse cuts would do nicely as well.
Wouldn't it be nice to go to Italy this summer?! If a trip isn't in the cards, at least we can still listen to Puccini as we go about making this blissfully simple assembly of steak and arugula sprinkled with shaved Parmesan Cheese.
Steak Salad with Arugula and Parmesan Cheese
- For the salad
- 5 ounces (about 6 cups) baby arugula
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup (1 ounce) shaved Parmesan Cheese
- For the steak
- Vegetable oil (for the grill)
- 2 (1 1/2-inch thick) sirloin steaks (about 1 3/4 pounds)
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges (for serving)
- Olive oil (for serving)
Make the salad:
In a bowl, toss the arugula with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss again. Mix in the Parmesan Cheese. Divide among four plates.
Prepare the grill:
For charcoal grills, fill a grill chimney with charcoal and light it. When the coals are hot (they should be covered with a layer of fine gray ash) empty the coals into the grill and push them to one side of the grill to make higher heat and lower heat cooking zones. Set the grate in place and cover the grill. Preheat the grate for 5 minutes.
For gas grills, heat one burner to high and one to low (225F).
Fold a small piece of paper towel to make a 2-inch square, and pour a few tablespoons of oil into a shallow bowl. With tongs, dip the square into the oil, and brush the grates.
Cook the steaks:
Brush the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper. Place them on the hot side of the grill and cook until browned and slightly charred on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill 3 minutes longer, or until well browned.
If the steaks aren't quite cooked to your desired doneness at this point, move them to the cooler side of the grill to finish cooking. Cook to an internal temperature of 135F for medium-rare, 140F for medium, or 150F for well done.
Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Slice the steaks and divide the slices between the plates, placing them on top of the arugula. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lemon juice over the top. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, if you like.