Fast and Fresh Dinner: Seared Beef Salad With Thai Flavors
I love how Thai-style ingredients make this salad vivid and light. Here, I’ve paired them with quickly marinated and briefly sautéed beef. Serve with fresh spring rolls purchased from an Asian restaurant or specialty-food store.
Beef top sirloin, 1 lb., fat trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
Fresh lemongrass, 2 tablespoons minced from bottom 6 inches of the stalk
Asian fish sauce, 2 tablespoons
Low-sodium soy sauce,
Sugar, 1 1⁄2 teaspoons
Large shallots, 2, minced
Freshly ground pepper
Peanut oil, 4 tablespoons)
Fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons
Serrano chiles, 1 1⁄2–2, seeded and minced
Coarse kosher salt
Red leaf lettuce, 1 head, torn into bite-size pieces
Bean sprouts, 3⁄4 lb.
Persian cucumbers, 4, halved lengthwise, and then sliced crosswise
Fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai basil, 1 cup packed
Fresh mint leaves, 1⁄3 cup packed
Red onion, 1⁄2, thinly sliced
Makes 4 servings
• Freeze the beef for 30 minutes. Cut across the grain into 1⁄4-inch (6-mm) slices. In a medium bowl, combine the lemongrass, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, the soy sauce, 3⁄4 teaspoon of the sugar, 1⁄2 of the minced shallots, and a generous amount of pepper; stir to mix well. Add the beef, stir to coat, and let it marinate for 15–30 minutes at room temperature.
• Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of the oil, the lime juice, chiles, remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, the remaining 3⁄4 teaspoon sugar, and the remaining shallots. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
• In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumbers, basil, mint, and onion. Toss to mix. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
• In a heavy large frying pan over high heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Working in batches, add the beef in a single layer (do not crowd the frying pan) and cook until just brown, about 20 seconds on each side. Arrange the beef on top of the salad. Serve right away.
Partially freezing the beef for about 30 minutes makes it easy to slice into thin pieces, which then cook quickly in a hot pan. To save time, you can make the dressing one day ahead and chill. Bring it to room temperature and mix well before using. If you can’t find lemongrass, substitute 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
Credit: Weeknight Fresh and Fast by Kristine Kidd. $29.95, Weldon Owen Publishing.