Steak and salad (and more brussels sprouts)

Our dinner tonight was a wonderful combination of flavors based on different motivations.  The brussels sprouts were such a hit that I wanted to try another variation so that got them on the menu and I had homemade mayonnaise leftover from our artichokes on Saturday.  That got me thinking about the amazing Italian chopped salad they had at Marconi’s.  Marconi’s was my favorite restaurant for years.  It was never trendy but the food was consistently wonderful.  For many years they didn’t take reservations or credit cards and when you went you might sit on the narrow staircase for what seemed like an eternity waiting for a table.

When you got the table, the wait was worth it.  The tables were small but covered with perfect white tablecloths.  The waiters were in tuxedos and they recognized regulars and would get you your cocktail order without having to ask.  The bread and butter were hard to resist but you knew what was coming so you tried not to fill up.  For our family, dinner always started with the chopped Italian salad.  The waiter brought a wooden salad bowl to the room.  It had all of the ingredients and a dollop of a mayonnaise dressing on top.  The waiter would take two sharp knives and chop the salad back and forth until it was in little pieces and every bite contained a combination of all of the flavors.  The salad was a constant but the entrees varied – Lobster Cardinale, Sole Veronique, the best soft crabs with a tartar sauce that was out of this world, shad roe – all were wonderful and if you ordered an entree that came with the french fried matchstick potatoes that was even better.  Regardless we had to get the fried eggplant which was crispy and perfect.  And you had to finish the evening with the hot fudge sundae – the waiter would bring the bowls of ice cream to the table along with a bowl of perfect hot fudge sauce and cover your ice cream with the sauce and leave the bowl on the table for a topper.  I can’t recreate all of it but I think I did a pretty good job on the salad.  Here is what I did – you can substitute good quality mayonnaise like Hellman’s or Duke’s for the homemade.  The key is in the chopping.

Chopped Italian salad

  • lettuce (I used a mix of green leaf and mache), washed and dried
  • 3 tomatoes, washed and quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, sliced
  • 4 anchovies
  • dollop of good mayonnaise

Place greens in a salad bowl.  Top with chopped tomatoes, celery, eggs and anchovies.  Top all with mayonnaise and chop finely using two sharp knives.   Here it is before and after:

Salad ready for chopping

Salad ready for chopping

Salad after chopping

Salad after chopping

Sauteed brussels sprouts

So now that I’ve been converted on brussels sprouts, I tried a different variation.  We are torn on which one is better.

  • 3/4 lb brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and halved
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 oz pancetta, diced
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock

In a heavy pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute pancetta until crisp and remove to a paper towel.  Add brussels sprouts to pan and saute about 5 minutes until browned.  Add chicken stock and simmer about 15 minutes until tender.  Put pancetta back in pan and serve.  Out of this world!

We had the salad and brussels sprouts with a grilled steak.  The steak was cooked perfectly (we split a Porterhouse and Keith grilled it about 3 minutes a side) but the veggies stole the show!

Steak and sprouts!

Steak and sprouts!

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About emenuplan
I love to cook and love to eat. I work full time and have a family so managing good meals during the week requires organization. I'm hoping to share my weekly menu plans and recipes to make things a little easier for those who want to follow along.

One Response to Steak and salad (and more brussels sprouts)

  1. Peter says:

    Agree about Marconi’s – and don’t forget the greeter at the door, who was probably close to 100!

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