For me, this steak dinner functions a lot like the bun I throw my hair in every Friday: it looks fancy, but actually requires minimal effort.
Marinated Skirt Steak And Balsamic-Rosemary Roasted Pears With Bleu Cheese and Walnuts
There's no shortage of delicious flavors to back up the beautiful presentation of this dish.
Contrary to popular belief, a steak dinner doesn’t have to be super fancy or tough to put together. Steak is relatively easy to prepare (it’s actually a lot easier to screw up chicken than steak, in my opinion), and it’s best when kept simple, so I find that the most impressive way to prepare an awesome steak dinner is to come up with some interesting, flavor-packed side dishes to compliment a perfectly-cooked steak. This meal does exactly that: a deliciously marinated skirt steak takes about 5 minutes of prep work and 5 minutes of actual cooking (for real…that’s it), while some seriously amazing bleu cheese and walnut-roasted pears with a balsamic and rosemary reduction make the dish feel (and look) like an all-star dinner that required hours in the kitchen.
This recipe was born out of the fact that I’ve always been a steak lover. A good bone-in ribeye is my absolute favorite meal (so long as I get a good glass of red wine with it, of course), but I usually have to head to a restaurant to enjoy it. Truth be told, I’d still head to a good steak house for a ribeye (there’s just something about that particular cut I like to leave to the professionals), but if I’m simply craving a great steak, there are a million other cuts and options that I can prepare without leaving the comfort of my own kitchen (plus, something about whipping up a ‘fancy’ meal while wearing my pajamas just feels right). That being said, I have my favorites when it comes to home-cooked steaks, and a skirt or flank steak ranks right up there, mainly because neither cut requires tons of work.
Skirt steak is cut from the ‘plate’ of a cow, which is located beneath and adjacent to the ribs, between the brisket and the flank. It’s a very tender cut of meat, and it takes flavor amazingly well, which makes it perfect for marinating. For this meal, I used the recipe for my favorite marinade, except that I added an additional two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar because that’s the flavor I felt like emphasizing throughout the steak and side dish as well.
Speaking of the side dish: these roasted pears are amazing and so damn simple. The soft texture and sweetness of the fruit together with the bite of the bleu cheese and the crunch of the walnuts is the perfect combination, plus these guys compliment the steak incredibly well without overpowering anything else on the plate. If you’re not a stinky cheese person, these pears would be equally as delicious with crumbled goat cheese instead of bleu.
The absolute best part about this dish (aside from the taste) is that it’s perfect for entertaining because its so damn pretty, but it wont break the bank – skirt steak is actually pretty cheap, and the rest of the ingredients won’t run you out of house and home, either. Essentially, this is the perfect fancy dish for when you don’t actually have the time or money to be fancy (story of my life), and here’s how you can do it:
2 skirt steaks (roughly 1 lb each)
3 anjou or bartlett pears, halved and cored, with stems removed
1 5-ounce container bleu cheese crumbles
1 4-ounce package chopped walnuts
2 tbsp honey
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bag spring mix
Marinate skirt steak in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Overnight is best.
Remove skirt steak from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling.
Meanwhile, prepare a rosemary and balsamic reduction by simmering the balsamic vinegar and rosemary over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the amount of liquid has reduced and it is thick and syrupy. Note: when vinegar simmers, it’ll sting your eyes (it’s basically a big pan of hot acid), so make sure you’ve got your stove-top vent on before you start.
Combine bleu cheese crumbles and walnuts in a bowl and then stuff each pear with a rounded spoonful of the cheese and nut mixture (there will be a bit of the mixture leftover). Place pears, stuffing side up, in a foil-lined baking dish and drizzle with the reduction. Roast, uncovered, at 375 for 45 minutes and then roast, covered, for another 10-15 minutes, or until pears are fork tender. Once the pears are out of the oven, drizzle them with the honey.
When the pears have about 10 minutes left to cook, grill the steak. I used a grill pan, but a real grill would work just as well. The steaks require 2-3 minutes on the first side and about a minute on the second side for a medium-rare preparation.
Cut the steak against the grain and plate the pears and meat over the spring mix, then sprinkle the remaining cheese and nut mixture over the top. Take a bunch of pics, post to Instagram, and enjoy!