Simple pleasures

Grilled steak, cucumber and nectarine salad

I get upset if I don’t have a salad of some kind on the table every evening. Be it a simple one of baby gem with vinaigrette (my favourite), tomato and shallots with parsley and oil or an onion and cucumber one with my popadoms.

These are, mostly, accompaniments to a meal. With a little effort they can be transformed into the main event and satisfy the hungriest appetite. There’s no need to be disappointed, especially when there are so many flavours you can add. Panzanella, Som Tam, Kachumba and Caesar salad are some examples that come to mind.

This salad uses seared sirloin, cooked with the fat on, then trimmed and thinly sliced. Be careful to not overcook it, you want that bright pink to shine through against the green. The sweet, charred and juicy nectarines go well with the meat and are a real taste of summer. Make sure you taste the dressing as you go, bearing in mind how it balances with the finished dish. It should be nutty, slightly sour and a little sweet.

Serves 2
1 sirloin steak, or rump if you prefer
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 red onion, cut into eight wedges
2 ripe nectarines, quartered
1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandoline
1 red chilli, sliced (remove the seeds for a milder heat)
1 tbsp quinoa seeds, toasted
Coriander leaves, chopped

For the dressing
4 tbsp walnut oil
1 tbsp Jerez vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
a pinch of chilli flakes

Heat a grill pan until smoking hot and season the steak with salt and pepper. Cook it for three minutes either side then set aside to rest. Add the red onion to the pan and cook in the juices.

Add the nectarines, and while they’re cooking, toss the cucumber with the spring onion and chilli. Mix the dressing ingredients together and taste. Adjust as necessary with more lime juice or salt.

Thinly slice the steak, add to the cucumber with the peaches and red onion, scatter over the coriander and quinoa then drizzle with the dressing and serve.

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