Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Spice Girls

Tonight's recipe is the result of another request from friends, who asked for a spicy beef salad that they could enjoy with the steamy hot weather we have been experiencing here in Sydney over the last few days. There is a very good reason that the hottest countries consume lots of chilli and their request made complete culinary sense given the season and the weather. So, Susan and Mary-Lou, spice girls that you are - this one is for you :)

This dish is very easy to throw together and it is also very versatile. Feel free to use spring onion instead of red onion, add sliced butter lettuce, a handful of bean sprouts or some snow peas if the mood takes you. If you want something a bit more substantial, then include some cooked rice noodles or vermicelli. Add bucketloads of chilli or just a touch and adjust the dressing to just how you like it - the measurements I have given are a starting point. I personally think this dish really works best with a decent amount of heat to it, but that's just me - I never feel I'm having a proper chilli experience unless I'm getting a bit of a sweat on :)

The key to this dish is to use super fresh ingredients - particularly the herbs. And please, if you don't have fresh limes, use fresh lemon. Don't be tempted by that hideous faux "lime juice" in the garish green bottles that you can buy on supermarket shelves. It is the work of Satan. Resist at all costs!!! I used topside steak for the recipe today, but if you are feeling a bit posh, then you can use fillet or another more premium cut. I personally think rump or topside is just fine though. It has a lot of flavour and as long as it is rested, it is succulent and tender. I cooked the meat in my grill pan, but of course if you have a BBQ, then it is perfect cooked that way. Actually, if I had a BBQ, that would be my preferred cooking method.

Okay, enough chit chat - here is tonight's dinner.....

Spicy Beef Salad

You will need:
For the salad: 500g rump or topside steak, 1 large lebanese cucumber deseeded and sliced, 1/2 finely sliced red onion, 1 small red capsicum or large bullhorn chilli deseeded and sliced, handful of cherry tomatoes sliced , handful of mint torn into pieces, bunch of coriander chopped roughly.

For the marinade: 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 tablepoon fish sauce (nam pla), 1 tablespoon palm sugar, pepper.

For the dressing: 3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla), Juice of 1 lime, 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon palm sugar, 1-3 chopped red chillies ( I used 3 - I like it spicy)

To serve: 1 tablespoon roasted unsalted peanuts crushed roughly, wedges of lime

Method: Combine the marinade ingredients and add the meat. Season generously with pepper. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 30mins (Overnight is even better)

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add more chilli, pepper or sugar if required. Set aside.

Heat a grill pan until hot and cook the steak in one piece for about 3 minutes each side. I like my meat fairly rare, but if you prefer your meat a little more done, then allow another few minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and allow if to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.

While the meat is resting, assemble the cucumber, capsicum, tomato, coriander, red onion and mint on a serving platter or individual plates.

Slice the steak into reasonably thick slices, being sure to cut across the grain. This will make for a much more tender result. Toss the meat through the salad ingredients and drizzle with the dressing. Serve topped with peanuts, a wedge of lime - and if you are a chilli masochist, extra chilli.

Serves 2-4 people


1 comment:

  1. Looks great! I totally agree re. the green bottles: Satan incarnate. Besides, you can't get zest out of a bottle, or peels for marmalade. Waste not, want not.