Karen Martini's maltagliata of beef with balsamic dressing

Italian-ish beef salad with balsamic dressing and ricotta. 
Italian-ish beef salad with balsamic dressing and ricotta.  Photo: William Meppem

I'm afraid I did a disservice to Italian when I took its word for "badly cut" – maltagliati – and applied it in the wrong way to this recipe I created in 2004 when we opened Mr Wolf. Since I never got around to correcting it, the mistake has stuck (apologies to all the Italians reading this!). The beef is roughly cut, pan-fried and served on a rocket and radicchio salad with fresh ricotta and a dressing made in the pan with a good glug of balsamic.


¾ iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

3 handfuls baby spinach

3 handfuls mature rocket leaves

3 handfuls young Russian red kale or curly endive, young cavolo nero or radicchio

4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, leaves torn

2 handfuls basil leaves

125ml extra-virgin olive oil

150ml balsamic vinegar

650g rump steak, sliced in 1cm-thick lengths

150g plain flour

½ red or white salad onion, finely sliced

250g fresh ricotta

25g pine nuts, toasted


1. Arrange lettuce, spinach, rocket, kale or other, half the parsley and half the basil on a serving plate. Drizzle with a little oil and a splash of vinegar, then season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add 80ml of the oil and heat for 2 minutes. When hot, toss the beef slices in the flour, shaking off any excess, then add to the pan. Turn the heat up to high and fry, without moving the meat, for 2 minutes. Season, then flip the meat over and cook for another minute, seasoning again.

3. Remove from the heat and add the remaining vinegar to the pan, swirling to combine. Add onion and remaining oil – plus a little more if needed – and swirl again to combine.

4. Tong the beef onto the salad, pouring the pan sauces over everything. Top with ricotta, pine nuts and remaining herbs and serve immediately.

Tip: trust in the amount of oil and balsamic required for this recipe. It's the dressing for the whole salad, so don't skimp.