Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Al fresco Steak Salad

Having spent so much of this year having a bit of a moan about the weather, I feel rather bad about having had nothing to say (on the blog at least) since the summer came good, but what with a week’s holiday, the Olympics and starting a new job since last I posted, I don’t seem to have much time to cook, let alone write it up.  I certainly haven’t been cooking very much that’s new, and although that makes for less interesting blogging, it really isn’t a problem.  Innovation is all very well, and there’s always a place, indeed a need, for it – but old favourites are good too.  After all, revered as the likes of Ferran Adria and Rene Redzepi are, there’s nothing the world of foodiness loves more than culinary tradition (to the point of tedious dogma, at times, it must be said, but still…), and you simply wouldn’t get culinary tradition without the repetition of old favourites.  Where would we be if every Greek grandma felt under pressure to deconstruct her Kleftiko, if every Marsellaise fishwife couldn’t serve up a fish stew because the family have had bouillabaisse before.  Sorry, I know I’ve said all this before too, but it is, appropriately enough, an old favourite topic of mine…

Becca and I had dinner in the garden earlier this week – the first time, I think, that we’ve eaten al fresco at home this year.  I served up a variation on a dish so old and favourite that I’ve already written up two distinct versions of it before – once with asparagus, once with beans and beetroot.  I make no apologies for that, because the steak salad is so good on so many levels.  Three at least: It’s a great way to make dense red meat into a light summery meal; it makes a little meat go a long way; and it’s ideally made with those lesser known - every bit as tasty, but mysteriously much cheaper than the regular - cuts of steak, known variously as flank, feather, skirt, hanger or butcher’s steak, so it’s doubly cheap.  Oh, and it’s thoroughly delicious.

This version was as simple as can be – another great reason for doing it.   And quick, too – and the last thing you want to be doing on those rare occasions we have the chance to eat out in the garden in this country is spend hours sweating away in the kitchen, pushing your culinary envelope.  Just new potatoes and green beans, tossed in a mustardy, lemony vinaigrette, with a few fine shavings of garlic and fresh chilli, fennel fronds and celery leaves, with a 330g feather steak (a whole £3.30’s worth for the two of us), salted, peppered, seared and rested, then sliced into thin strips and laid over the top.  Served with a crunchy salad of celery, tomato, cucumber and fennel.  Eaten outside in the last of the evening sunshine with a chilled bottle of light and fruity red. 

Try as I might, I really can’t imagine I’m likely to get bored of that any time soon…

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