Thai Beef Salad
Provided by: Caroline Bates
The dressing is the soul of this salad. I like equal amounts of lime juice and fish sauce (you may prefer more of one than another), a touch of sugar, and just enough diced serrano chiles to balance the flavors without wiping them out. Some recipes recommend using Thai "bird" chiles, but be wary. Just one of these tiny bombs packs the heat of three large serranos.
- 1 pound beef tenderloin, flank, or other lean steak
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 or 2 small serrano chiles, seeded and minced
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoons minced lemongrass (from the bottom of a peeled stalk)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cups torn mixed salad greens
- 1 cup mixed fresh mint, cilantro, and basil leaves (preferably torn, not chopped)
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 small seedless cucumber, scored with the tines of a fork and thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut crosswise into thin rings
- Using a preheated charcoal or gas grill or an oven broiler, grill or broil the meat to medium-rare, about 6 to 8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool to room temperature. Cut across the grain into very thin slices, reserving the juices.
- In a large bowl, make the dressing: Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Stir in the reserved meat juices, chile, garlic, lemongrass, scallions, and shallot. Add the sliced beef, toss well, and marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- In another bowl, lightly toss together the salad greens, herbs, and carrot and arrange on a serving platter. Circle with the sliced cucumbers and pepper rings. With a slotted spoon, lift the slices of beef, scallion, and shallot from the dressing and mound them in the center. Drizzle the dressing left in the bowl over the greens and vegetables. Serve with jasmine rice or sticky Thai rice.