ASIAN GRILLED BEEF SALAD

Serves 4 as a generous lunch salad or 6 as a first course.

1 flank steak (about 1-1/4 pounds)

for the marinade/ dressing:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, white part minced, green part thinly sliced for garnish
  • 2 to 4 Thai or jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced (for spicier beef, leave the seeds in)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (or fish sauce)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
to finish the salad:
  • 1 ounce Asian rice noodles
  • 1 head Boston, bibb, or red leaf lettuce, broken into leaves, washed, and spun dry
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced and broken into rings
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • scallion greens (reserved from above)
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1. Score the flank steak on both sides in a crosshatch pattern, as shown in the photo. Arrange the steak in a baking dish just large enough to hold it.

2. Place the garlic, ginger, scallion whites, chilies, and sugar in a mixing bowl and mash to a paste with the back of the spoon. Add the soy sauce, lime juice, water, and sesame oil and stir or whisk until the sugar crystals are dissolved. Pour half the marinade over the steak and marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator, turning several times to insure even marinating.

3. Soak the rice noodles in cold water to cover in a large bowl for 1 hour. Taste them. If tender as is, drain well. If the rice noodles are still tough, cook in 3 quarts rapidly boiling water until tender 2 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain well.

4. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

5. Line your salad plates with large lettuce leaves. Tear the smaller leaves into 2 inch pieces. Place the lettuce pieces, cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, mint, cilantro, and basil in the mixing bowl with the reserved dressing, but to not mix.

6. Grill the flank steak until cooked to taste 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 3 minutes. Cut the steak into paper thin slices sharply on the diagonal.

7. Toss the salad and loosely mound it on the lettuce lined plates. Place a mound of rice noodles in the center of each. Fan the beef slices on top of the salad and sprinkle with the scallion greens and peanuts. Serve at once.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort