Beef & Balsamic Salad

crisp beef, balsamic & ricotta salad

Beef & Balsamic Salad

This is a great little salad combo. I just love the contrast between the hot crispy beef and the smooth creamy ricotta. So good. I don’t normally bother using flour coatings when I’m pan frying food, however in this case it does make the beef extra crispy. Feel free to skip that step if you prefer, the salad will still be delicious.

enough for: 2
takes: 10 minutes

450g (1lb) steak, finely sliced
2 tablespoons flour, optional
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large handfuls rocket (arugula)
6 tablespoons ricotta

1. Heat some oil in a large frying pan or skillet over a high heat.

2. Toss beef strips in the flour (if using), in a plastic bag to coat. Shake to remove excess flour.

3. Test a piece of meat to make sure the oil it hot enough. If it sizzles violently, add the rest of the meat. If not, let it get hotter.

4. Cook meat for about a minute on each side or until browned. Drain on paper towel.

5. Combine balsamic with 3 tablespoons olive oil and use this to dress the rocket leaves.

6. To serve, smear ricotta over the base of two plates. Scatter over the hot steak and top with dressed salad leaves.

Prepare Ahead?

Best hot from the pan so the beef is at its crispest.

Leftover Potential

Will keep in the fridge for a few days. The leaves will wilt and you’ll lose the crispness of the steak but it will still taste OK.

Variations

carnivore – big eaters may need a larger serve of the steak.

vegetarian/vegan – replace the steak with sliced portabello or field mushrooms. You’ll need to cook the mushies until they are tender as well as browned which will take longer than the steak but shouldn’t be more than about 10 minutes. You could also replace the steak with grilled veg from the deli.

gluten-free – replace flour with corn flour (corn starch) or other gluten-free flour.

greens – in autumn I love to serve this with red radicchio instead of the rocket.

pescetarian – replace steak with salmon or other fish fillets.

carb lovers / more substantial
– serve with mashed potatoes or home made fries. Or toss in some cooked pasta.

paleo (gluten, grain + dairy-free) – skip flour and replace ricotta with mashed potatoes or smashed avocado.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

steak – freeze it.

flour, balsamic vinegar – keep them in the pantry.

rocket (arugula) – use for another meal. Can be frozen but will wilt when defrosted.

ricotta
– best to use for another meal. Unopened tubs usually keep for a few weeks though.

Problem Solving Guide

bland – make sure you’re generous with the salt and pepper.

steak too tough or dry
– next time choose a more tender cut and make sure you slice it across the grain to maximise tenderness. Overcooking will also result in tough meat so make sure you’re ready to remove the meat from the pan as soon as it looks like it’s just browned.

too oily – if the oil isn’t hot enough and the pan is crowded the steak will get oily rather than going nice and crisp. Next time use a larger pan or cook the steak in batches.

can’t be bothered flouring the meat? – it won’t be the end of the world if you skip the flouring step but your steak will miss out on the wonderfully crisp texture. I also think it helps keep the meat moist and juicy.

Serving Suggestions

Wonderful on its own.

Related Links

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