A Spread to Celebrate Summer

5th July 2019

These warm and light evenings call for dishes that are quick and easy to prepare – definitely no slaving over a hot stove – and perfect for sharing at those improptu neighbourly get-togethers…

Seared beef & watercress salad with charred pineapple, asparagus and chilli

You’ll need:
240g sirloin steak; 2 x 85g bags watercress; half a pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 6 wedges; 2 tbsp caster sugar; 60ml olive oil; 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed; salt and pepper. For the spiced dressing: 1 tsp coriander seeds; 2 bay leaves; 1 shallot, finely sliced; 1 red chilli, finely sliced; 3 tbsp red wine vinegar; 3 tbsp water; 1 tbsp sugar; 2 tbsp olive oil; salt and pepper

Method:
First make the dressing. Gently dry-fry the coriander seeds until fragrant, then add in all of the remaining ingredients except the olive oil and salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes, then set aside and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove the bay leaves and pour the olive oil into the mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Taste and add seasoning. Pre-heat the grill to a medium-high setting. Prepare your pineapple by combining the caster sugar and olive oil with a pinch of salt. Brush this mix over the surface of the pineapple wedges, then chargrill for roughly 10 minutes, turning once, or until the outside of the pineapple is charred and sticky. Allow to cool slightly before serving, as the sugary outside will be very hot! While the pineapple is grilling, pre-heat a frying pan (or get the BBQ going) ready for the steaks. Season the outside of your sirloin well with salt and pepper and add in a splash of oil to the pan. Once the oil is smoking hot, pan fry the steaks for a few minutes on each side (depending on how you like your steak), then remove and allow the beef to rest. Cook your asparagus by blanching for two minutes in boiling salted water, then drain well and set aside until you build your salad. If cooking the asparagus ahead of time, make sure it is cooled in cold water quickly after cooking so that it does not become soggy and brown. Cut your rested steak into thick slices. Add a good pile of watercress onto each of your four plates, then add in the charred pineapple and asparagus.  Top with the seared beef and drizzle generously with the spicy pickle dressing. Serve and enjoy!

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