Thursday, June 08, 2006

Cooking: Asian Grilled Beef Salad

This is a DELICIOUS summer dinner and aside from a fair amount of prep work, really easy. Try it, you'll like it!

Source: How To Grill, by Steven Raichlen

For the flank steak and marinade/dressing:

1 flank steak about 1 1/4 lbs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T peeled, minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, white part only, sliced (I use the whole scallion)
2-4 Thai chiles or jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (Hard to come by in my area, I used a couple tablespoons of hot chile sauce)
3 T sugar (I use honey)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice
2 T Asian (dark) sesame oil (I use toasted sesame oil)

To finish the salad:

1 ounce Asian rice noodles
1 head Boston, Bibb, or red leaf lettuce, or a mixture of lettuces, broken into leaves, washed, and spun dry
1 cucumber, seeded (optional) and thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced and broken into rings
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I use grape tomatoes)
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
Small mint springs for garnish

1. Score the flank steak on both sides. Arrange in a nonreactive baking dish just large enough to hold it.
2. Place the garlic, ginger, scallion, chiles and sugar in a large nonreactive mixing bowl and mash to a paste with the back of a spoon. Add the soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil and 3 T of water and stir or whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Pour half the marinade over the steak and let marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator, covered, turning several times to ensure even marinating. Reserve the rest of the marinade for dressing the salad.
3. Soak the rice noodles in cold water to cover in a large bowl for 1 hour. Taste a noodle. If tender as is, drain well. If the rice noodles are still tough, cook in 3 quarts rapidly boiling water until tender, 1-3 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain well.
4. Set up the grill for direct grilling and heat to high.
5. Line salad plates with large lettuce leaves. Tear the smaller leaves into two-inch pieces. Place the lettuce pieces, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, mint cilantro, and basil in the mixing bowl with the reserved dressing, but do not mix.
6. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the flank steak on the hot grate and grill until cooked to taste, 4-6 minutes for medium-rare (about 145 degrees F on an instant-read meat thermometer). Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for three minutes. Cut the steak into paper-thin slices by holding the knife blade at a 45 degree angle to the top of the meat.
7. Toss the salad and loosely mound it on the lettuce-lined plates. Place a mound of rice noodles in the center of each. Arrange the beef slices on top of the salad and sprinkle with the peanuts. Place a mint sprig on each salad and serve at once.

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