Seared Beef Salad with Fresh Basil Pesto and Arugula

Seared Beef Salad with Fresh Basil Pesto and Arugula

Serves 2
Homemade pesto is paired with tender, juicy grass-fed beef and served with a simple arugula salad in this recipe from Denver chef Elise Wiggins of Panzano.
  • Basil Pesto
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Grass-fed Beef
  • 1 (8-ounce) grass-fed beef skirt steak, London broil or NY strip
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
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For the pesto, toast pine nuts in a sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned. Watch carefully as they burn quickly. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat a saucepan of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice cubes and water; set aside. Place basil in boiling water and remove immediately, plunging it into the ice bath.

Squeeze excess water from basil, separate leaves and place in food processor with the parsley. Process basil and parsley while slowly adding olive oil. Pulse for 30 seconds, until the oil and herbs are combined. Add garlic and pulse until combined. Pour into a bowl and fold in cheese and whole pine nuts. Add salt to taste. Set aside.

For the beef, remove silver skin and excess fat from steak and cut lengthwise into two thin steaks. Heat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Brush grill with one teaspoon olive oil. Grill steak to desired doneness. Grass-fed beef tends to cook faster than grain-fed beef. Allow steak to rest 5 to 7 minutes before slicing.

Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto on each plate. Thinly slice the steak and arrange over the pesto and sprinkle with sea salt. Toss arugula with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place on top of the steak. Garnish with Gorgonzola.

Chef's Tip: Store extra pesto in ice cubes trays to ensure freshness and availability.
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: 540 calories (400 from fat), 44g total fat, 10g saturated fat, 70mg cholesterol, 500mg sodium, 3g carbohydrates, (1 g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 32g protein.