When people find out I cook a lot more than the average 20 something, I usually get one of 2 responses. The first is how are you not the size of a house and the second is your boyfriend is really lucky. Both of these responses always make me laugh. The boy is rather lucky but he also puts up with a ton of cleaning. I manage to make a lot of messes and he cleans them all up (usually with some grumbling but I wouldn't expect anything less). As for why we are not the size of a house - the answer to that is cooking doesn't always mean cooking overly indulgent food. Don't get me wrong, I bake more batches of cookies then should be allowed but I also eat more produce then most since I shop almost exclusively at farmer's markets. As much as people like to think I am serving 4 course gourmet feasts each night, the opposite is far closer to the truth. Dinner most nights is a hodge-podge assortment of leftovers and figuring out how to use up the random bits of food I tend to acquire when going on cooking binges. My default meal for weeknight evenings is some kind of salad (great for using up leftover bits) and a wedge of really good cheese or some kind of protein. Lately I've been on a arugula kick (something about the peppery bite) and pairing it with something substantial (to appease the boys eating habits) which is how this salad came about. Nothing revolutionary about it (Italians have been doing this for year) but the combination is superb which is why it's such a classic.
Seared Pepper Steak with Arugula Salad
½ - ¾ pound flank steak or other similar cut
5 - 6 cups of arugula
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons good olive oil
Wedge of Pecorino or Parmesan with which you can cut shavings
Salt and pepper to taste
About an hour before you plan on cooking, remove the steak from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 10 minutes before cooking the steak, heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. (If you don't have a cast iron skillet you can use a regular skillet, just make sure it can go in the oven. It will probably only need a 3 minute warm up on the stove then).
While the skillet is heating generously (and I mean generously) salt and pepper the steak on both sides. Place the steak in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes (depending on the thickness of your steak). Flip and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Take the steak off the burner and place it in the oven to cook for another 3 minutes.
While the steak cooks, place the arugula in a large bowl. Salt and pepper the lettuce. Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the steak and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings (sometimes I add a drizzle of hot honey here).
Remove the steak from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain into slices. Place the salad on the plates and top with shavings of cheese. Place the sliced steak on top (along with any accumulated juices!)