Grilled Top Blade Steak with Arugula Salad and Scorched Croutons

      Recipes reprinted with permission from PURE BEEF 2012 by Lynne Curry, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.

      Grilled Top Blade Steak with Arugula Salad and Scorched Croutons
      When I crave a steak and a salad, this is what I envision: a small but exquisite piece of grilled beef and a heap of peppery greens and grilled croutonsall drizzled with dressing and meat juices.

      Also known as flatiron, top blade steak is a new favorite on restaurant menus because this steak is the second most tender cut of all. It's a thin cut, about one inch thick, and has no bones to get in the way of a great steak experience. I treat it to nothing more than coarse sea salt to form a crispy crust over the high heat of the grill or a grill pan. Pre-washed baby salad mix, as long as it's very fresh, makes a fine substitute for the custom blend of arugula and herbs.

      Makes 4 servings
      2 top-blade steaks (about 1 1/2 pounds), 1 to 1 1/4-inches thick

      • Kosher salt

      • 2 thick slices artisan bread, crusts removed and torn into ragged 1 1/2 -inch pieces

      • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

      • 1 teaspoon sherry or red wine vinegar

      • 5 ounces baby arugula (about 6 cups)

      • 1 cup lightly packed fresh herb leaves, such as basil, parsley, dill, chives, chervil, tarragon, mint, or a combination

      • Finishing salt, such as coarse sea salt or flake salt

      • Freshly ground black pepper

      Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and season liberally with the kosher salt. Toss the bread with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and set it aside.

      Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for high heat (425 to 475F), scrape the grate clean, and oil it lightly. Cook the steaks on the hottest part of the grill until seared, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Use tongs to flip them and sear the second side for another 3 to 3 1/2 minutes for medium rare. (To cook the steaks medium or beyond, slide them over to the coolest part of the grill and close the cover, then cook for 1 to 4 minutes more.)

      Grill the reserved bread croutons while the steaks rest, turning them 2 to 3 times, until they are tinged with brown.

      For indoor cooking, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and preheat the broiler. Lay the steaks in the pan and cook without moving them for 31/2 to 4 minutes. Use tongs to flip them and sear the second side for an additional 3 1/2 to 4 minutes for medium rare. (To cook the steaks further, slide the pan off the burner but leave the steaks in the pan for 1 to 3 minutes more.) Meanwhile, toast the croutons under the broiler, keeping a sharp eye on them and turning them once, until golden brown.

      Transfer the steaks to a cutting board. While they rest, make the salad dressing by whisking the vinegar with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl. Put the arugula and herbs in a salad bowl and toss with the dressing. Slice the steak against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices and put 4 to 5 slices on each plate. Pile a portion of the salad on top of each serving and balance a few croutons on top. Drizzle any meat juices from the cutting board over it all and sprinkle to taste with the finishing salt and black pepper.

      More Choice Cuts: Rib-eye and any of the other exceptional grilling steaks, including strip loin and top sirloin, will do quite well here. Chuck-eye steak is fattier but tender enough to grill.