When I saw this recipe in the Top Chef Quickfire cookbook, I was intrigued by the idea of a rice salad that looked like a salad with rice in it, not a creepy rice Jell-o mold thing (the idea behind some icky noodle “salads”). This recipe was from Season 4 contestant Antonia who wrote that she grew up eating this. I like salad. Real salad. Growing up, one of my grandmothers’ idea of a salad was green Jell-o with canned fruit bits in it, so I really wanted to try this hybrid salad/side dish thing.
We went with grass-fed New York strip. I’ve decided if I’m going to eat meat it’s got to be pasture-raised and grass-fed and, preferably, traceable back to a particular farm and if it’s not, I will try to pass on eating it. The more I learn about agriculture, our food and where it comes from, the more important it is that the animal was treated well, the Earth wasn’t damaged and that I’m not poisoning myself by eating it. But I digress.
If you’ve never cooked grass-fed beef before I highly recommend it. It tastes cleaner, less complicated and not overly oily or fatty like corn-fed beef. It also seems to cook more quickly so you get your steak faster too. We got this New York strip to cook perfectly medium-rare in the stove top grill pan, so it was moist and tender.
The rice salad was really salad greens and gently warmed rice combined with a dressing made from vinegar, egg yolks and spices. The dressing was actually so rich that I couldn’t finish my salad because it simply overwhelmed me with flavors. That could have been due to a heavy hand with the vinegar or simply because it was a lush, yolk-based dressing.
In any case, this was a delish, quick and pretty healthy meal that could certainly be on a weeknight dinner table. No Jell-o mold required.