Cajun beef southwestern salad

  • 1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, divided
  • 3 boneless beef top loin (strip) steaks, cut 1.5cm thick (about 250g each)
  • 12 fresh figs, stems removed, cut into quarters
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 270g baby spinach
  • 1 (450g) tin chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • 90g thinly sliced red onion
  • 70g coarsely chopped pistachio nuts
  • 50g crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

2) Press 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning evenly onto the beef steaks. Cover and refrigerate.

3) Place the figs, cut side up, on a rimmed metal baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 to 35 minutes or until very soft and starting to caramelize. Set aside.

4) Meanwhile, zest and squeeze the juice from 1 orange. Combine 60ml of orange juice with the orange zest, oil and 1 1/2 tsp of cajun seasoning in a small bowl. Set aside.

5) Peel and cut the segments from the remaining 2 oranges. Set aside.

6) Preheat a charcoal barbecue to a medium heat. Place the steaks on the barbecue over medium, ash-covered coals. Cook on the barbecue, uncovered, 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.

7) Carve the steaks into slices. Assemble the salad by layering spinach, beans, onion, figs, orange segments and steak slices. Top with nuts and cheese. Drizzle with orange dressing.

Cook's Tips:
To prepare on a gas barbecue, preheat the barbecue according to the manufacturer's directions for medium heat. Barbecue the steaks, covered, 7 to 10 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.
To cut the segments from the oranges, cut off both ends with a paring knife. Stand the orange on a cut end and slice vertically (top to bottom) to remove the peel and white pith in strips. Follow the curve of the orange with the paring knife to remove as little flesh as possible. Cut each segment free by slicing down on both sides of the surrounding membranes.
Any sweet orange may be substituted for the blood oranges.
12 dried figs may be substituted for fresh. Re-hydrate in hot water according to the package directions before using. Omit the roasting step. Cut the figs into quarters and arrange in the salad as directed above. Alternatively, 500g peaches, nectarines or sweet plums, cut into 8 pieces, or fresh pineapple, cut into 2cm chunks, may be substituted. Roast as directed above, increasing the roasting time to 35 to 45 minutes or until the fruit begins to caramelize.
Two beef rib-eye steaks, cut 2cm thick (about 350g each) may be substituted for the top loin (strip) steaks. Barbecue, uncovered, over medium, ash-covered coals for 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on a preheated gas barbecue, covered, 9 to 14 minutes) for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.

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