Steak salad with freekeh, spring greens and spicy mustard dressing

Use any grains as the base of this spring steak salad.
Use any grains as the base of this spring steak salad. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dietary
Dairy-free

What I love about this salad is that any hearty grain will do – it's not the go-and-purchase-specifically kind of salad, rather, delve into the pantry and find a grain to suit. I chose freekeh for its brilliant chewiness – it's a great contrast to the pumpkin, sweet and tart orange, charred steak and creamy bitey dressing.

Ingredients

¾ cup freekeh

vegetable stock to cover (about 2 cups)

½ small butternut pumpkin, seeds and pulp removed

2 tbsp olive oil

300g eye fillet, at room temperature

½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

½ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

1 blood orange, peeled, segmented and sliced into bite-size pieces

¼ cup pomegranate arils

pea shoots (tendrils) and edible flowers to scatter (optional, replace with watercress if unavailable)

Spicy mustard dressing

⅓ cup Dijon mustard

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

¼ cup apple juice

½-¾ cup olive oil

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).

2. Add the mustard dressing ingredients to a bowl, starting with ½ cup of the oil, and adding more if required. Whisk to combine – it should emulsify and become creamy. Set aside.

3. Add the freekeh to a medium-sized saucepan. Slowly add the stock until the liquid sits about 2cm above the grains. Bring to the boil and then immediately turn down to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until just cooked through – it should still have some bite. Keep an eye on it as the stock evaporates – you don't want grains sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once cooked, cover with the lid and let the grains steam in the residual heat for about 3-5 minutes.

4. While the freekeh is cooking, chop the pumpkin into even-sized chunks and place on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the tray.

5. Once the pumpkin and grains have cooled, add to a large bowl and gently toss to combine.

6. Place a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and once very hot, add the steaks, and sear on one side for up to 3 minutes before turning and cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Remove from pan and allow to rest for 3 minutes.

7. While the steak is resting, add the herbs, orange and pomegranate to the grain and pumpkin mixture and toss gently. 

8. Transfer the salad onto a serving platter. Slice the steak along the grain and place on top. Spoon over some of the dressing, season with salt and pepper and serve.