Thursday 26 April 2018

Forkful's speedy supper: Steak with tomato salad

Steak and tomato salad Photo: Mark Duggan
Steak and tomato salad Photo: Mark Duggan

Aoife McElwain

Isn't it great drying weather out there? This summery streak we're having also means it's great grilling weather out there, too. In this week's speedy supper we're putting forward the idea of a grilled (or fried) steak served with a zesty tomato salad.

Steak can often be associated with heavier accompaniments, more suitable to winter climes, like creamy mashed potatoes and rich red wine sauces. But you can lighten up a steak and dress it for summer by serving it up with a light salad and a dollop of delicious green pesto.

If you have the barbecue blazing, by all means throw your steak over the heat. Otherwise, heat some vegetable or sunflower oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Olive oil tends to get smoky so it's better to use the other oils, as they can withstand higher temperatures.

Personally, I like my steak medium rare. Nicely pink but not too bloody. My method for achieving that is throwing a seasoned piece of steak into the hot pan and frying on each side for four minutes.

Then I take the pan off the heat and let the steak sit in the hot pan as it cools for another 10 minutes. This lets the steak rest while continuing to cook it.

As for the tomato salad, we're reaching that time of year when we should be able to spot Irish tomatoes in the shops. I've used little cherry tomatoes here, which have the sweet flavour we're looking for to accompany the steak.

I've used shop-bought pesto here to speed things up but you can make your own by blitzing some basil, Parmesan and pine nuts together. I've thrown in a few baby potatoes to bulk up that salad. Serve your steak and tomato salad with some crusty bread on the side for an additional carb fix - a necessity for me!

Steak with tomato salad

Serves 2

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


1 large steak

Vegetable oil



6 baby potatoes

Large handful of cherry tomatoes (about 12)

¼ red onion

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Squeeze of lemon juice

Handful of fresh basil or mint leaves, chopped (optional)

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Tub of green pesto

Crusty bread, to serve


1. Brush your piece of steak with oil and season it generously with salt and pepper.

2. Fry your steak to your liking. For me, that means heating a drizzle of oil in a frying pan over a high heat, then frying the steak for 4 minutes on each side before taking the pan off the heat and allowing the steak to rest in the pan as it cools for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, slice your baby potatoes in half. Boil them in a saucepan of simmering water for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and allow to cool.

4. Make your tomato salad by halving the cherry tomatoes and placing in a large serving bowl. Peel and very finely slice the red onion. Add to the bowl. Add the baby potatoes to the bowl.

5. Make your dressing in a separate bowl. Mix together the olive oil, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

6. Pour about half the dressing into the bowl with the tomatoes and onions. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Add a handful of finely grated Parmesan to the salad if you're feeling cheesy. You can add a handful of freshly chopped herbs like basil or mint to the salad if you like.

7. Slice the steak into pieces and top with a generous dollop of green pesto. Serve with the tomato salad and a bit of crusty bread on the side.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Pesto: Blitz up some herbs, nuts and Parmesan and, hey presto, you have your own pesto!

If you don't fancy making your own, having a tub of shop-bought pesto in the fridge is great for sprucing up dull dinners. The Happy Pear's pesto range is delicious and is widely available nationwide.

Irish Independent

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