Ready, Set, Grill: shhh…Secret Ingredient is Coffee

Seared Steak Salad with Balsamic-Shallot Reduction

I had to laugh when I read this article that included my recipe for Seared Steak Salad. The editor asked “Who comes up with these ideas, anyway?” That would be me!

A trend taking place in restaurants actually inspired this recipe. I couldn’t help but notice that chefs were adding coffee to their dry rubs, barbecue sauces and marinades. They were also using coffee as part of the liquid when braising – coffee adds depth and richness to the dish. When coffee is added to an ordinary rub, it takes it to a whole new flavor level. I paired the steak with a baby arugula simply because I love its peppery kick and it complements the balsamic reduction so well.

To apply this dry rub, sprinkle it over the steak and then gently massage it in to make sure the seasonings adhere. As a general rule, use about 1 tablespoon of rub per pound of meat. The flavor of the coffee and spices penetrates deeper into the steak if given time, so be sure to let it rest for 15 minutes. For a more intense flavor, refrigerate the rubbed steak for an hour, but be sure to bring it back to room temperature before you cook; this will allow it to cook more evenly. The coffee rub forms a beautiful, almost black crust on the outside. Let it rest at least 5 (if not 10) minutes before slicing. The steak will absorb and redistribute the juices. Thinly slice the steak (about 1/4-inch) across the grain to ensure the most tender results.

The perfect complement to this seared steak is a balsamic reduction. Don’t waste your money on pricey traditional balsamic vinegar that has been aged for years. There’s no need for this if you’re going to toss it on salad or cook with it. The good stuff (aged and very pricey) works best uncooked, as a drizzle to finish a dish. The simplest way to make a reduction is by cooking it in a saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. The idea is to let the vinegar reduce by half and thicken in the process. You’ll know the reduction is done when the vinegar starts looking like syrup. Allow the vinegar to cool before using.

Seared Steak Salad with Balsamic-Shallot Reduction

Ingredients for 5 servings:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons NESCAFÉ TASTER’S CHOICE House Blend 100% Pure Instant Coffee Granules
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds (3/4-inch-thick) flank steak
  • 7 1/2 cups baby arugula or spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups pear or cherry tomato halves
  • Sliced red onion (optional)
  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese or Gorgonzola cheese (optional)


COMBINE vinegar, shallots and sugar in small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until reduced by half (you should have about 1/4 cup dressing remaining). Set aside.

PLACE coffee granules, seasoned salt, garlic powder and pepper in small bowl; crush and combine ingredients with back of spoon. Pat steak dry, then sprinkle seasoning mixture evenly over both sides of steak; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

HEAT large, nonstick grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot (or preheat outdoor grill over medium-high heat). Add steak; cook for 4 minutes (cover if you are using outdoor grill). Turn over; reduce heat to medium. Cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to cutting board; let steak rest for 5 minutes.

CUT steak against the grain (slices should be about 1/4-inch thick). Divide arugula among five plates; top evenly with steak, tomatoes and onion. Drizzle with balsamic-shallot reduction; sprinkle with cheese.


Related recipes:

Nescafé-Balsamic BBQ Sauce recipe
Nescafé-Balsamic BBQ Sauce
Seared Coffee-Encrusted Sirloin recipe
Seared Coffee-Encrusted Sirloin

One Trackback

  1. […] Seared steak salad, breaded artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, leftover garlic bread and chimichurri Monday- […]

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