I had a craving for something Thai, yet the hot weather wanted me to go for something cold. That being the criteria, I decided to make a Thai Beef Salad.
The salad is so quick and easy to assemble, you just need the right ingredients.
I had a challenging time trying to find lemongrass. There is a store in Croton on Hudson called Zeytinia. This store has some of the most unique products and ingredients I’ve encountered outside of Manhattan. They have black pickled pears, fresh lychees, and more. They do not have lemongrass. Lemongrass is a staple ingredient in many Asian (and some latino) cooking. Get rid of the black pickled pears and give some shelf space to something you’d actually sell! Arrrrrrgh.
Anyway, I traveled a bit north to Montrose and found it at the A & P.
I made the salad twice and the second time I changed the meat from London Broil to Flank Steak. The Flank Steak was much better in flavor and texture in the salad when sliced thin across the grain.
The interesting part of this recipe is there is no oil, it is very fresh, and you marinate the meat AFTER you have cooked it. One thing to remember, once you have grilled the meat, let it rest for at least 15 minutes to allow the juices to become reabsorbed into the meat or it will be dry. As it rests, you will gather some of the cooking juices at the bottom of the plate on which it rests. This is great flavor and I would recommend adding it right into the salad mixture.
Get into the Kitchen!:
Thai Beef Salad
2 green onions, chopped
1 stalk lemon grass, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup lime juice (about 4 limes)
1/3 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 pounds (1 inch thick) steak fillet (Flank Steak recommended)
1 head leaf lettuce – rinsed, dried and torn/cut into bite-size pieces (I use hearts of romaine)
1 English cucumber, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
In a large bowl, stir together the green onions, lemon grass, cilantro, mint leaves, lime juice, fish sauce, chili sauce and sugar until well combined and the sugar is dissolved. Adjust the flavor, if desired, by adding more sugar and/or fish sauce. Set aside.
Cook the steak over high heat on a preheated grill for approximately 4-6 minutes on each side, until it is cooked medium. Do not overcook the meat! Remove from heat and slice into thin strips. Add the meat and its juices to the sauce and refrigerate, tightly covered, for 2 – 3 hours.Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and place in a salad bowl. Arrange the cucumber on top of the lettuce, and then pour the meat and sauce over. Top with the cherry tomatoes and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. This is a perfect summer salad. Servings: My opinion, and depending upon how hungry you are, is that this recipe would serve 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main course.
Todd Alan is Westchester Eat’s critic for all things to stuff into your mouth, gadgetry to play with in the kitchen, and all things food.