Leftover steak beefs up a salad without heating up the kitchen

FAST & FRESH

August 03, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

In the height of summer when the weather whets the appetite for nothing more than ice cream, beat the head -- and the clock -- with this filling but rapid salad. The last thing we want with high temperatures and humidity is a steamy kitchen or a labor intensive meal. There is no need to heat up the kitchen here! Just throw these cool ingredients together to make a savory concoction of mixed greens, crunchy fresh vegetables and leftover, smokey grilled steak. The trick is to plan and cook enough steak, either a flank or London broil, so you have enough for a second meal.

Jicama and radish add crispy crunch; the jicama also adds a nice fruitiness. The luscious creamy Avocado Dressing is the slim cousin of guacamole. It can double as a dip, but either way you choose to use it, be assured there won't be any left over. You will notice that there is no added oil to the dressing. The only fat is from the avocado, which is considered to be the good fat (polyunsaturated), if eaten in moderation. If you are watching your waist line and your conscience, try oil-free tortilla chips. They give the same crunch and more corn flavor since they are baked and not fried.

Have you ever thought of fruit soup for dessert? It makes all the sense in the world if you would like to incorporate as much of summer's bounty as possible into each meal. While apricots, cherries, nectarines and berries are at their peak, use them as the focal point of this refreshing, straightforward dessert. Simply splash the fruit to cover with your favorite light fruit juice, spiked with a -- of ginger or cinnamon and a squeeze of lime. You can prepare this before the salad and let the flavors mingle in the refrigerator.

Items you should have as staples are: garlic, lemon juice, chicken broth, salsa, tomatoes, tortilla chips, fresh seasonal fruit, fruit juice, lime, ginger or cinnamon; also leftover grilled steak.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list:

1 ripe avocado

Mesclun (field greens) or mixed salad greens

jicama

radishes

8 ounces mushrooms

Baja Steak Salad

Serves 4

SALAD

4 cups Mesclun or mixed salad greens

1 cup peeled and diced jicama

6 radishes, thinly sliced

8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced

16 ounces grilled steak, thinly sliced

2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

1/2 reserved avocado, cut into slices

tortilla chips to line plates

AVOCADO SALSA DRESSING

1/2 avocado, diced (reserve the remainder to slice for the salad)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup salsa

In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients except salsa. Refrigerate while making salad. Just before serving, stir in salsa.

In a large bowl, toss together salad greens, jicama, radishes and mushrooms. Equally divide among four dinner plates. Top with equal portions of steak slices, tomato wedges and avocado slices.

Tuck tortilla chips around the edges. Drizzle each salad with a small amount of the Avocado Salsa Dressing and pass the rest.

Per serving (Dressing alone): 66 calories; 5g fat; 1g saturated fat; 3g carbohydrates; 2g protein; 222mg sodium; 8mg calcium; 1mg iron.

Per serving (salad alone): 324 calories; 19g fat; 7g saturated fat; 16g carbohydrates; 25g protein; 119mg sodium; 87mg calcium; 5mg iron.

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