When I have people round for dinner, I have terrible trouble thinking of things to make which don't involve at least a substantial piece of meat and some fixings. You'd think I would have learnt from my vegan month, but thoughts always stray to something roasted or braised. More often than not, it will be a fairly lengthy recipe to take time over, and there just seems to be more of a sense of celebration in these dishes.
This kind of meal assumes you have the time to spend over such things though. I recently had friends over for dinner after work and rather than make them wait until the early hours while my centrepiece cooked, this steak salad was pretty much perfect; quick to make and decadent enough to feel like a treat. Faces fell somewhat when I announced that we were having salad, but they soon perked up when the steak was sliced into it and the blue cheese crumbled over it. Salad at our house is rarely the healthy sort. I'll admit I wouldn't win any prizes on presentation, though.
It seems rather wrong to be eating salad in this weather, but served warm and with a mountain of oven chips, it didn't really need to be Summer.
Steak & Blue Cheese Salad
500gr rump steak at room temperature
70gr blue cheese, at room temperature
A handful of cherry tomatoes
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, roasted and skins removed (or use jarred)
1/2 a red onion
30gr walnuts, toasted and left to cool
1 x bag of mixed strong leaves, like rocket and watercress
For the dressing:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp creme fraiche or yoghurt (optional, but nice)
A pinch of salt and pepper
Whisk the dressing together and set to one side.
This is basically an assembly job. Heat up a griddle pan or a frying pan until it's really hot - oil the steak, not the pan. Fry until your desired doneness (medium rare, for me). Season generously on both sides and remove to rest on a plate under a tent of foil. Rest for 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, add the leaves and dress with half of the dressing. Use your hands to really get in there and work the dressing onto the leaves. Arrange on a plate, then halve the cherry tomatoes and slice the peppers into stripes. Scatter over the leaves. Slice the red onion into thin half moons, again, scatter.
Slice the steak thinly against the grain. Any juice that remains can be whisked into the remainder of the dressing. Drape the steak over the leaves, give them a little wiggle, and drizzle the rest of the dressing over. Finally, crumble over the blue cheese and serve.