Taco salad made from seared steak, avocado, tomato, shredded lettuce, and creamy chipotle dressing is delicious without any embellishment. But if you happen to have cheddar cheese in the refrigerator and a few extra minutes to grate it and bake it, then why not make an edible cheddar bowl?
Cheddar bowls are crispy and salty and fun to eat. They can be big or small, for main course salads or appetizers. Best of all, these bowls are made from just one ingredient: cheese. If you tolerate dairy, then cheese bowls (or chips) are a tasty occasional snack.
Although cheddar is most often used (especially since it goes so well with taco salad), it’s definitely not the only cheese you can grate and bake. Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano (a raw sheep cheese high in CLA) are terrific substitutions.
Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour
10 ounces grated cheddar cheese (or other types of cheese) (284 g)
1 pound skirt or flank steak (454 g)
½ teaspoon ground cumin (2.5 ml)
½ teaspoon chili powder (2.5 ml)
½ teaspoon salt (2.5 ml)
1 tablespoon avocado oil (15 ml)
1 head Romaine lettuce, end trimmed off, leaves thinly sliced
To make large cheese bowls, sprinkle thin layers of grated cheese on the lined baking sheet in circles that are 6 inches/152 mm in diameter. Leave space between each circle.
To make smaller, appetizer-sized bowls sprinkle thin layers of grated cheese on the lined baking sheet in circles that are 4 inches in diameter. Leave space between each circle.
Bake about 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Out of the oven, let the cheese set for a minute or two until it starts to solidify, then lift the cheddar rounds off the baking sheet with a wide spatula.
For large bowls, drape the circle of warm melted cheese over an upside down cereal bowl. Let the cheese cool into the shape of a bowl.
For small bowls, set warm cheese circles in a muffin tin, pressing the cheese down gently into the muffin tin to form a small bowl. Let cool. The cheese bowls can be made a few hours ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.
Season both sides of the steak with cumin, chile powder and salt. Heat avocado oil in a wide cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the skirt steak.
Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until the steak is nicely browned on one side, then flip the steak over. Cook an additional 3 minutes. Skirt steak is usually thinner and should be done cooking at this point. Flank steak can be thicker and may need an additional few minutes in the skillet. Or, finish the flank in the oven (already preheated to 400º F/204º C from the cheese crisps) until done.
Either way, let the steak rest 10 minutes before slicing against the grain (perpendicular to the striated lines you see in the meat) into strips no thicker than ½ inch/12 mm thick. So the steak fits into the Cheddar bowls, slice the strips into small, bite-sized pieces.
In a large bowl, toss Romaine lettuce, tomato, avocado, cilantro and steak.
In a small bowl, whisk together Primal Kitchen Chipotle Mayo and lime juice.
Pour dressing over salad, tossing lightly.
Portion the salad out into the cheddar bowls right before eating.