Give Me Five: Avocado and beef salad

Inspiration for new recipes is everywhere. This week’s dish was prompted by a photo on Instagram

Inspiration for a recipe can come from anywhere. Sometimes it really can be as idyllic as eyeing up the produce in the local farmer’s market and realising it’s the perfect time of year for beetroot, chatting to a goat farmer and picking up some cheese, then spying a crusty artisan baguette. Other times it can be that a certain ingredient is on offer in my local supermarket and I end up desperately needing to use up 3kg of blood oranges bought on impulse.

Of all the social media out there, Instagram is the best for meal inspiration. It's packed with food that "real" people cook and eat. Rarely will a scallop shell full of foam with edible "sand" and single plump scallop inspire me to cook a family meal. Simple photos of dinner that talented cooks throw together in the privacy of their own home do it for me.

The ones I love are usually so quick and easy that I have to note down the combination of ingredients used or the method in which they were cooked. The photo is usually self-explanatory, with no need for a lengthy description.

This week's recipe is the perfect example. Sami Tamimi is a chef and the co-author of the Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks. His Instagram feed is full of simple dishes that he makes outside the official Ottolenghi kitchen. Beautifully simple mezze feasts, goat's cheeses and vegetables. On one of his recent trips to Mexico he posted a salad of seared beef, avocado, red onion and coriander. The photo showed great punchy flavours all combined on one plate. It makes a really filling nutritious salad.


In my own version I’ve used mixed sprouts from Good 4 U nutrition, an Irish family-run company based in Sligo. This sprout mix is peppery and has such a lovely texture. It’s a nutrient-dense mixture of sprouted broccoli, alfalfa, clover and radish. Mixed salad leaves or rocket could be used instead. I find myself adding these little supersprouts to everything; they’re especially good in egg-salad sandwiches.

This is something of a deconstructed salad: the modern-day version of that 1980s classic, the salad plate. However, gone are the salad cream and pickled beetroot.

A perfectly ripe, buttery avocado can be thickly sliced and drizzled with a little olive oil and a scatter of crunchy sea salt flakes. Whenever I buy avocados, they are rarely ripe. I’ve taken to buying them well ahead of time and storing out of the fridge in a paper bag with some ripe bananas. The bananas work their magic, releasing ethylene, a natural plant hormone that triggers the ripening process, into the air. Apples also contain high levels of ethylene, so you could use them instead.

I’ve made this salad a few times since seeing it. It can be piled into a warm corn tortilla and it tastes amazing.

For the past few years I’ve seen Lily Ramirez-Foran and her husband, Alan, grow their Mexican food blog into an online business and finally a bricks-and-mortar shop in Dublin 2, where the shelves are stacked high with traditional Mexican fare such as mole paste, beans, chillies and tortillas. They also run classes from their new premises, so if a workshop in tamales, salsas or enchiladas whets your appetite, it’s definitely worth a visit.


The five ingredients

  • 400g sirloin steak
  • 90g Good 4 U nutrition mixed sprouts or similar
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 30g coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 avocados

From the pantry

  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper


Place a non-stick pan over a high heat. Rub a tablespoon or so of olive oil over both sides of the steak. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook the steak for three minutes on each side, depending on how well-cooked you like it. I like to leave it quite pink on the inside, as it will continue to cook while resting. Set aside to rest on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, finely slice the red onion and mix with the sprouts and finely chopped coriander. Place a mound of sprout salad on each plate. Halve the avocados, remove the stones and slice thickly. Place half an avocado on each plate, drizzle with oil and season with a little salt. Finally slice the steak across the grain. Divide between the four plates and spoon over any juices. Serve immediately.

Every Thursday we’ll tweet the five ingredients from @lillyhiggins and @irishtimeslife so you can have them ready for Friday. Email with your suggestions for recipes