Cervena Salad with Blue Cheese, Spiced Walnuts and Green Apple

, from Issue #45. January, 2016
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Cervena Salad with Blue Cheese, Spiced Walnuts and Green Apple

A composed salad gives a more impressive presentation but is simply a salad where all the ingredients are arranged on a platter rather than tossed together. Serve the dressing separately and accompany with warm crusty bread rolls.

Serves: 6


800-900 gram piece Cervena Denver leg
kitchen string
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 big handfuls mixed salad leaves
200 grams blue cheese
1 green apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
4 fresh dates, stoned and sliced
spiced walnuts

Orange dressing
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped 

Spiced walnuts
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon each sea salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup walnut halves or pieces


Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Tie the Cervena at 3 cm intervals with kitchen string and season generously with salt and pepper.

Heat an ovenproof sauté pan over a high heat. Add a little olive oil and quickly brown the meat on all sides. Transfer to the oven and roast for 8 minutes. Turnover and roast for a further 8 minutes for medium-rare meat. Rest the meat, lightly covered for at least 20 minutes.

Dressing: Whisk the juice, vinegar, garlic and oil in a bowl and season then stir in the red onion.

Spiced walnuts: Put all the ingredients except the walnuts in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the walnuts and cook for 3 minutes, stirring the nuts frequently and cooking until the syrup begins to caramelise. Tip onto a flat tray lined with baking paper and separate the nuts with a fork. Cool. Store in an airtight container between sheets of baking paper. 

To serve: Slice the Cervena thinly. Arrange on a large platter with the salad leaves, blue cheese and apple. Put the dressing in a bowl and nestle in the centre of the platter. Scatter over the dates and walnuts. Pour any meat resting juices over the Cervena before serving. 

Pantry note: Spiced walnuts are available in supermarkets and food stores or make your own with the above recipe. Substitute whole almonds or pecans if desired.