By A.J. Fusco
The mere mention of the word salad is known to send entire crews into a chaotic frenzy. Now serve one as a main course and you are really asking for it! But there is a way to avoid the verbal “beatdown,” which would usually result because of this bold move … put steak on it!
I have found that if you tell the crew you are making a “steak salad,” they are usually a little more enthused about this idea. It’s almost like hiding vegetables in mac and cheese to get your kids to eat them! What kind of steak you use is totally up to you, but I prefer quick cooking lean cuts that pack tons of flavor like flank, skirt, and in this case hangar. Feel free to marinate any of these, as they all take on flavor really well, but I personally think they taste great with just a little salt, as this lets the beefy flavor shine through. And anytime you cut steak, make sure to slice it AGAINST (perpendicular to) the grain to achieve maximum tenderness. If you cut with the grain, you might as well serve shoe leather no matter how perfectly you cooked it.
And when it comes to salad greens, my go-to is arugula. Its mild peppery flavor stands up to strong ingredients like gorgonzola and steak, while providing a nice contrast in textures to the grilled pears. And, best of all, it packs a punch when it comes to nutrition. Arugula is loaded with fiber, which helps keep you fuller longer. It also has tons of vitamins A, K, C, folate, iron, and potassium. Some of the minerals it contains also relax blood vessels, helping to control blood pressure, which is a huge benefit in fighting cardiac-related incidents among firefighters.
Any good salad also needs a great dressing to go with it. I urge you to avoid premade dressings that are made with tons of preservatives. Instead, make your own so that you can control what ingredients you use and at the same time tailor it to your own taste. Even a simple dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and salt can make a salad delicious. This Balsamic Yogurt Dressing is great because it adds flavor and a little extra protein too. Yogurt is a great substitute for cream if you are looking for creamy dressings, but try to use the plain, full-fat Greek variety if possible. So, the next time you are looking to get a salad on the table without being stripped of your chef badge, put some steak on it!
Hangar Steak Salad with Grilled Pears, Gorgonzola, and Balsamic Yogurt Dressing
1 lb. Hangar Steak
1 Pear, sliced into ¼-inch-thin wedges
Small Container Crumbled Gorgonzola
Large Package of Arugula
½ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt, at least 5% fat
¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs. Honey
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Salt, to taste
- For the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, yogurt, and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Taste and adjust seasoning, set aside in refrigerator.
- Preheat grill on high.
- Place steak on a wire rack, pat dry with paper towel, and season with plenty of salt. Rest for at least 20 minutes at room emperature.
- Toss sliced pear in a bowl with drizzle of honey and EVOO and a pinch of salt.
- Grill the pears on one side just until lightly charred. Set aside to cool (a rack on the grill will prevent pears from slipping through grates).
- Grill steak to desired doneness, flipping frequently. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.
- Assemble salad and drizzle with Balsamic-Yogurt Dressing.
A.J. Fusco started Fork and Hose Company in 2011 by as a way to share his passion for cooking with other firefighters. Over time, it grew to a community of firehouse chefs sharing meals and recipes from all over the world, with a focus on healthier cooking. In 2017, A.J.’s dedication to firehouse cooking landed him on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” twice, and on his first show he won the Salute to Firefighters episode! A.J.’s passion for cooking didn’t stop in the firehouse! He enrolled at the International Culinary Center in Manhattan in 2016 and graduated Top of the Class in the Professional Culinary Arts program. A.J. has worked in professional kitchens in Manhattan and Westchester since graduating and continues to do so on his days off from the firehouse.