Monday, 18 June 2012

Day 39: Seared beef salad

Not the most appealing of sights in my opinion but, then again, I’m not a meat eater. I’m talking about the great big lump of meat that our local butcher presented me for my approval. I’m saying “Hmmm, lovely. Thanks!”. I’m really thinking “Eugh! Gross! Thank God I don’t eat that stuff!”. And that is no reflection on the standard of the meat because according to my Donegal mammy who is an authority on the quality of meat, our local butcher supplies nothing but the finest of meats and won’t buy it anywhere else other than Grants in Buncrana. It’s a traditional butcher shop where the staff are friendly and it’s family owned so it's popular.

Remember when a few weeks ago and it was 26°C and I was making winter dinners? Well, it’s been bucketing down for the past two days in Donegal and although the winter dinners would be more appropriate now, I am, of course, making summer salad-type dishes. Not only do I have a time machine on my wish list but also a crystal ball which will predict the weather. Honestly, I don’t know why we even have a weather forecast. We would be better to assume that it’s going to be dull and raining and then if it’s a nice day, we’ll have a nice surprise! That’s my logic anyway.

Tonight then, I made Seared beef salad. It was my first time cooking a fillet of beef and I must admit to being slightly fickle about what meats I cook. If it doesn’t look remotely ‘normal’, I’m not cooking it. Therefore, I wouldn’t exactly have gone out of my way to cook a fillet of beef before but I can tick that one off my culinary to-do list now too.

Well, getting back to the salad and I started off by cutting two red onions each into six wedges. I drizzled olive oil over the wedges on a roasting tray and seasoned them before cooking in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I made the dressing which consisted of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. I dressed rocket leaves with the dressing and put it on a plate. Then onto the part which I was least looking forward to as, armed with the latex gloves, I cut the fillet of beef into 12 thin slices. When the onions were nearly done, I put a griddle pan on a high heat on the hob and fried the slices of beef for 30 seconds on each side. When the onions came out of the oven, I drizzled them with balsamic vinegar and once the beef was done, I put it on top of the rocket leaves, placed some of the onion wedges on the plate too and drizzled some of the balsamic vinegar/olive oil on top. Finally, I crumbled some Gorgonzola blue cheese on top.

I had a wee taste of the Gorgonzola cheese. Firstly, checked that it was from cows rather than sheep or goats or whatever and saw the beloved ‘Suitable for vegetarians’ label. Secondly, I Googled it – hey, I like to know what I’m eating! To my knowledge, this was the first time I had tasted Gorgonzola and it was certainly the first time I cooked with it. I haven’t made up my mind about it yet – I ate a bit, couldn’t figure out if I liked it or not, ate some more and so on. From reading that, I think it’s fair to say I’d eat it again. So, onto the verdict…

Dear Husband gave it 9 marks out of 10 – major milestone in the history of salads in our house! Result. He described the meat as ‘tender and succulent’. He said that the Gorgonzola was the nicest cheese he’d ever tasted!!! Dear Son didn’t have any but he’d had his dinner in the early part of the evening. He only shouts “Mum, 2 out of 10!” now so that I’ll run around the house to tickle him! Crafty.

So, there you go. A salad type dish that will keep any meat-eater happy. Check. A dish that sneaks in part of your 5-a-day. Check. A type of meat which I hadn’t cooked before. Check. Tasted a new cheese which we’ve decided we both like. Check. Now, who’d have thought all of that would have been achieved from a simple salad???! Dear Husband will never look at salads the same ever again…


  1. I do admire you for cooking meat when you don't eat it yourself. I love it and fillet is a lovely cut of meat. I also like a bit of Gorgonzola, it was my Dad's favourite cheese and stank out the fridge. The salad sounds good, I can see I will have to get a copy of Easy Meals.

  2. Hi Janice. Thanks for the comment:) Yes, I'd definitely recommend the book. Actually I love ALL of Rachel's books. Happy cooking anyway :)