In honor of the Memorial Day holiday here in the US, I present you with my favorite grilled beef recipe. I love beef salads. One – they allow for portion control, a little bit of juicy, red meat sliced thinly and fanned attractively across the top of a salad is a great way to feel like you are getting a lot, when really you are probably getting just the right amount. Two – I always feel like I am keeping a healthy balance when I include a generous serving of salad with my beef. Much better for you than that butter and sour cream loaded baked potato (though, I do love a loaded baked potato!)
This recipe comes from one of the best barbeque cookbooks, ever! It is The Barbecue! Bible: Over 500 Recipes by Steven Raichlen. When I first saw this book, I thought, “How many recipes can there be for barbecue?” I mean, there’s regular barbeque with a red sauce and then there’s a vinegar sauce. There’s beef and then there’s pork, and sometimes chicken. End of story. Except this book is more, so much more. It is barbecue recipes from around the world, not just what many Americans think of when we think of barbecue. Yes, there is Texas-style Barbecued Brisket and then two pages later there is Brazilian Stuffed Rib Roast. Pork more your style? There’s Elizabeth Karmel’s North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork and then there is Uruguayan Grilled Stuffed, Rolled Pork. See what I mean? Really, this book is amazing. It is a summer ritual of mine, to sit down with this book, on the back porch, with a glass of wine or a beer, and reacquaint myself with it’s grilling goodness.
One of the first recipes that I tried was the Thai grilled beef salad. It has become such a standard around here, that anytime anyone sees a flank steak marinating the fridge, they immediately get excited, hoping that we are having this salad. I’ve made it so many times, that I kind of do it my own way.
Spicy Thai Grilled Beef Salad
Beef and marinade
1 flank steak (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic
1 to 6 thai, bird, seranno, or jalapeno peppers thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I use lime)
1 head boston or bibb lettuce
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (I cut mine into bite size pieces)
1 small sweet onion thinly sliced (I omit, I don’t like raw onion)
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
12 fresh mint leaves (optional, but I always include)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
Combine marinade ingredients and pour over a lightly scored flank steak. I don’t usually score mine, so that’s up to you. Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or as long as 8, turning several times. A ziplock bag works perfect for this.
Preheat the grill to high.
Prepare the dressing. Grind the garlic, chilies, and sugar into a paste in a mortar with a pestle. Work in the fish sauce and the lime juice. You can also just puree in a blender.
Drain the steak and grill on a well-oiled grill for 4-6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly or completely, before thinly slicing across the grain.
The recipe calls for you to line a platter with the lettuce and then top with the salad ingredients, I usually just toss them in a bowl with the dressing right before serving. So, I place the salad ingredients on a plate. Top with the steak and sprinkle with the fresh cilantro and chopped peanuts.
This salad can be served warm or at room temperature. I love the beef the next day, it makes the perfect leftover lunch!