I’m trying to get back in the blogging saddle. I sort of fell out of the habit sometime last year, and other than sporadic updates here and there, I’ve had a hard time writing regularly. Now that the weather is finally getting nicer and the days are getting longer, I’m hoping I can keep the blogging momentum going!
One thing that we’ve really enjoyed since moving to Illinois is being able to grill more often. Around here, lots of people like to relax on their back porches, and what better way to relax than with a cold drink and a grill full of meat? I like to fire up the grill as often as possible, and often look to Mike Vrobel of Dad Cooks Dinner and Josh Bousel of The Meatwave for equipment tips, recipes, and other general grilling advice.
Grill or no grill, one of my favorite ways to enjoy a steak is over a bed of greens. This recipe combines rich grilled (or broiled, or pan-fried) steak with bright southeast Asian flavors. If you’re trying to eat less meat for any reason (health, economic, eco-footprint, etc), it’s an excellent way to stretch a small piece of meat to feed a lot of people. With meat, peanuts, herbs, and tons of salad greens, it’s an excellent one-bowl meal. It also packs well for lunches the next day.
The dressing is pretty much the same as for the Vietnamese chicken salad that I posted last month, but we added a little vegetable oil and a little more lime. If you wanted to take this in another direction, you could use any other salad dressing you like, although I would recommend a little extra acid to balance out the richness of the steak.
You can cook the steaks however you want. I splurged on a $30 ribeye roast at our local grocery store, and cut it into four huge 1 lb. steaks. I froze two and am cooking the other two tonight. We had plenty of meat for 2 dinners, 2 lunches the next day, plus some extra to use for sandwiches or tacos later this week. We like ribeye steaks, which I can usually find for about $6/lb. here in Waukegan. Other good options are New York strip (probably around $9/lb), flank steak ($5/lb?), or hanger or strip steak (price varies, and can be hard to find in supermarkets).
For a great guide to grilling steaks, check out Kenji Lopez-Alt’s article and recipe. If you don’t have a grill, you can follow any grilling recipe by using your oven’s broiler instead. Set the rack about 4-6 inches from the broiler and put your element on “high”. This is pretty similar to a medium-high or high level on a gas grill, or having the coals on a charcoal grill banked all the way to one side.
Once you have your steak figured out, round up your other salad ingredients. Other than lettuce (use either a boxed mix or chopped romaine lettuce), we like shredded carrots, chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, sprouts. and peanuts. Feel free to add or omit anything that you don’t have or don’t like.
So get out there, fire up your grill (or broiler), and eat some steak!
Southeast-Asian Style Steak Salad
- 1 – 1.5 lbs. steak, preferably 1 large, thick ribeye or New York strip
- kosher salt and pepper
- vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup fish sauce, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup sugar, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or substitute an additional lime’s worth of juice)
- 1/4 cup water
- Juice of 2 limes, plus more to taste, plus additional lime wedges for serving
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- about 6-8 cups salad greens, or about 2 heads of lettuce
- 2-3 carrots, julienned or grated
- 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin (white and green parts)
- 1 cup peanuts
- 1 cup bean sprouts
Sprinkle both sides of the steak liberally with salt and black pepper. Let sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill or broil the steaks following the method here or however you like. Set the steaks aside to rest.
Meanwhile, assemble the dressing. Combine the fish sauce, sugar, water, limes, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Whisk in about 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed – you may need a little more fish sauce or a little more lime. Set the dressing aside until you are ready to serve.
Once the steak is cooked and rested for at least 10 minutes, slice it thinly against the grain (if you’re serving just 2 people and having the rest for lunch tomorrow, only slice as much as you need — steak keeps better when left whole). Toss the greens in a large bowl with the carrots, cilantro, scallions, peanuts, bean sprouts, and about 1/3 cup dressing. Plate onto bowls or plates and top with the steak and more dressing if desired. Serve with lime wedges.
Leftover dressing will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks (longer if you didn’t use garlic), and is excellent on leftover rice or with any cooked meat or vegetables.