Grilled Steak And Peppers Vinaigrette

So I finally started tackling a list of "spring-ish" recipes I made for myself. And I'm so glad I began with this recipe! It's absolutely delicious... and not nearly as time-consuming or labor-intensive as it may appear. (Pretty much grilling steak and peppers while leeks simmer and then whisking up some dressing.)

I halved the recipe, which made just the perfect amount for two (below is the 4-serving version, but you can halve it if you just want dinner for two too). I didn't even bother to make a side; we just had a little fresh bread.

Grilled Steak and Peppers Vinaigrette (Gourmet, March 2009)

1 large bunch leeks (2 to 3 pounds; white and pale green parts only)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
3 thyme sprigs
2 pounds sirloin flap steaks (my butcher didn't have these and gave me sirloin tip steaks instead)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoon olive oil, divided
4 Cubanelle peppers (Italian green frying peppers)
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Equipment: a large (2-burner) grill pan (I used a round, one-burner grill pan)

Halve leeks lengthwise and cut enough crosswise into 1-inch pieces to measure 8 cups, then wash.

Simmer leeks, butter, broth, bay leaf, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and boil until liquid has reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Discard bay leaf and thyme.

Meanwhile, heat grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.

Brush steaks with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Grill steaks, turning once, about 8 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and let rest 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve and seed peppers and toss with remaining 2 teaspoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill, turning once, until crisp-tender and lightly charred, 6 to 10 minutes total. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces.

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add extra-virgin olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Add peppers.

Serve steaks over leeks with their juices, drizzle with meat juices from plate, and top with peppers and vinaigrette.

A few notes: While this dish was very good, it was a teensy bit too salty. And after reviewing the recipe, I can see why. Salt the leeks, salt the steaks, salt the peppers, salt the vinaigrette... I say put a little less salt in the leeks and skip salting the peppers before grilling them. That should leave you with just the right amount of saltiness. (Make sure to salt the meat though -- it tastes much better and stays juicier that way.)

And about those leeks -- they are delicious, but they aren't entirely necessary, so if you want to make a quick version of this dish, skip that part. Just grill your steaks and peppers and toss them with the vinaigrette.

But don't skip the vinaigrette -- it's really, really tasty and pulls the whole dish together.