5 ingredients. 10 minutes. the definitive guide to salad – protein
+ crisp beef and balsamic salad with ricotta

5x10 beef & balsamic salad-4 5x10 beef & balsamic salad

In the second last installment of the definitive guide to salad, we’re looking at salads that focus on meat, fish or poultry. Just the thing for when you’re trying to satisfy both a hardened carnivore and a rabbit food fan with the one dish.

The idea is to use your protein as a highlight ingredient to give substance and interest to the salad. While at the same time allowing the accompanying leaves and dressing to add lightness and fun. It’s all about balance.

I’ve been dying to share one of my favourite meat based salads since before I went to Spain last year. Thin bite size pieces of melt-in-the-mouth steak given a crisp coating with the help of a little flour will keep hungry meat eaters happy. Then vibrant leaves dressed in a punchy, slightly sweet balsamic dressing for the salad-ivores and cold creamy ricotta to bring it all together.

5 ingredient and made in less than 10 minutes. It’s the type of salad that will keep you going through the Autumn.

5x10 beef & balsamic salad-5

[5 ingredients | 10 minutes]
crisp beef and balsamic salad with ricotta

serves 2

When a recipe calls for dusting meat in flour before cooking, I usually give it a miss but for some reason tried it out on this salad before I went to Spain and was so impressed with the lovely crunchy texture that it gave the meat. And the beautiful deep golden colour. Worth the effort. If you need it to be gluten free rice or potato or even corn (maize) flour should all work.

The lovely red colour and bitterness of radicchio are a lovely contrast to the smooth creamy ricotta. If you can’t get your hands on radicchio don’t worry. Just substitute in you favourite lettuce or even mixed leaves.

300g (10oz) piece steak, finely sliced into bite sized pieces
3T plain flour
2T aged balsamic vinegar
1 head radicchio or other lettuce, leaves torn
200g (7oz) ricotta

Place a large frying pan over a high heat. Season flour well with s&p and toss beef pieces until well coated.

Heat enough olive oil in the pan to just cover the base. When it starts to smoke quickly fry the steak turning once or twice until deeply golden. Drain on paper towel.

Mix balsamic with 2T extra virgin oil and season. Toss lettuce leaves so they are well coated in the dressing.

To serve smear the ricotta over two plates. Top with dressed leaves and finally the beef. Best to eat while the beef is still hot and crispy and the ricotta is a cool creamy contrast.

5x10 beef & balsamic salad-3

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  • Beautiful ingredients Jules. The colours are so autumnal and I can practically feel the texture of the ricotta from your last image there. Well done, and best of luck with the new enterprise!

  • thanks neen.
    I love the colours as well. although have also made it with green salad leaves and it was just as lovely. how good is ricotta!

  • After your lentil and beetroot salad with ricotta I have found a new obsession.. love salad that works for all seasons! Yum!!

  • hey jade. completely agree – ricotta is the best.

    claire – i’m hearing you about all season salad – so glad you’re still enjoying the lentils with beetroot & ricotta

    LPC – I know. It’s like a little bed of sauce. I love the way that the balsamic dressing gets all mingled in with ricotta as you eat. so good

  • maybe this post should have been titled animal protein – I am so set in my vegetarian ways I expected to see some tofu or legumes – I don’t eat beef but the ricotta and radicchio are both ingredients to interest me because I have tried them a little but still feel a little uncertain about them so it is always good to see how others use them

  • johanna,
    good point – I should have specified animal protein.
    but thinking about it there’s no reason why you couldn’t dust some tofu in flour and pan fry it until golden instead of the beef.

  • I agree you can substitute tofu in this sort of salad but it doesn’t have the same intense flavour as beef. I think that smoked tofu might go quite well here although it is a bit harder to get hold of, or possibly one of those packets of marinated tofu!

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