Barbecued steak salad with cherry tomato vinaigrette and crunchy bread
This salad is a terrific example of how simple ingredients can be combined in surprisingly different ways. Basically, it’s just the makings of many a meal – a piece of steak, tomatoes, salad greens, and bread – but the way you prepare each ingredient lifts the whole thing to another level, and makes it taste so special and beautiful.
This quantity serves two hungry people, however if there’s four of you, just double the recipe…or treble it for six!
Serves 2 (or 3 smaller eaters)
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary
2 rib eye-steaks, approx. 200g each and 1.5cm thick
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
4 handfuls of assorted salad greens (I used a mixture of rocket and elk-horn lettuce in the photo), washed and gently dried
Approx. 1 ½ tablespoons of your favourite salad dressing
Cherry tomato vinaigrette (makes approx. 1 ½ cups):
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
1 golden shallot (eschalot), very finely chopped
350g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved (tiny ones can stay whole)
2 – 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Approx. 120g pide/Turkish bread,
1 – 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Scatter half the garlic and rosemary over base of a shallow dish. Sit the steaks on top and sprinkle with remaining garlic and rosemary. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat them lightly, then grind on some pepper. Turn the steaks over a couple times so they’re well coated in the mixture, then cover and leave at cool room temperature for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally. (If you don’t have time for this, just brush the steaks with olive oil before cooking them.)
In the meantime, to make the cherry tomato vinaigrette, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Scrape in the garlic and chopped shallot and cook them, stirring regularly for a few minutes, until they’ve softened and looks slightly translucent. Add the tomatoes and stir them about so they’re well coated in the oily mixture. Cook them, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes or until they’re beginning to release their juices and look a bit squishy. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the vinegar, remaining olive oil, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Don’t worry if some of the tomatoes squash as you do this, it only makes the mixture taste better. Set it aside to cool a bit.
Preheat your oven to 200C, and line a small baking tray with baking paper. At the same time, preheat your barbecue to medium-high.
For the crunchy bread, carefully remove the crusts from the bread with a sharp serrated knife (this is a bit awkward as the bread is quite thin, but if you take your time, they will come off easily.) Tear the bread into small bite-sized chunks, and drop them into a bowl. Drizzle the bread chunks with olive oil and with your fingers (wearing a food prep glove, if you like) swizzle the bread around in the oil so all the oil is absorbed. Spread the chunks in a single layer on the prepared baking tray, and pop it in the oven. Bake the bread for 8 – 10 minutes, tossing it about once or twice, until it’s golden and crunchy. Remove the tray from the oven and leave the bread chunks to cool a little.
Scrape the garlic and rosemary off the steaks; season them lightly with sea salt, then sit them on the barbecue. Cook them for 2 – 3 minutes each side, or until they’re done to your liking, then transfer them to a warm plate. (I’m afraid I’m relying on you to judge when the steaks are cooked, as so much depends on how thick they are. The suggested cooking time will cause a steak about 2cm thick to be on the rare side.) Allow the meat to rest for at least 6 minutes, then slice it across the grain into thickish strips.
To serve, toss the salad greens with a little of your favourite salad dressing. Now layer the dressed greens with strips of steak, spoonfuls of tomato vinaigrette (you won’t need it all), and chunks of crunchy bread. Keep on layering until all the meat and greens are used. Finish off with any remaining chunks of bread, and serve the rest of the vinaigrette separately. (If you have leftover tomato vinaigrette, store it in the fridge – it’s delicious spooned over fish, lamb, or dribbled over toasted sourdough bread as a tasty bruschetta).