Sometimes a Cooking Patient is a vegetarian, and sometimes he or she is not. I have beloved many meatless meals, but this is not one of them. Its spirit is Vietnam.
This is an Asian-style weekday dish that connects raw salad, some rice noodles and the taste and protein of grass fed, beautifully marinated, lean steak. From Sunset mag in 2008; I skipped sugar.
Vietnamese-Style Steak Salad
For the rub
3 stalks lemongrass (I grow myself!)
2 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, quartered
1 medium shallot, sliced
1 tbsp. olive or coconut oil
1 tsp. salt
About 1 ½ lb. flank steak
½ cup coconut oil
8 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
6-8 oz. rice-stick noodles
½ cup shredded carrot
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
2 qts. chopped napa cabbage
¼ cup each cilantro, chopped fresh mint leaves and chopped green onions
- Make rub. Remove tough outer layers of lemongrass and cut off stem ends and coarse leaves. Chop tender core and whirl in a food processor until very finely chopped, about four minutes. Add ginger, garlic and shallots until a paste forms. Add oil and some of the salt; pulse to combine.
- Sprinkle steak with remaining salt; cover both sides with lemongrass rub. Chill at least one hour and up to six.
- Make vinaigrette. Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and cook until lightly golden, being careful not to burn. Pour oil through a strainer and save the browned garlic chips on a paper towel to dry. After oil has cooled, whisk in lime juice and fish sauce.
- Make salad. Follow directions to cook your rice noodles. Typically that means heating water to a boil, turning the heat off and then adding the noodles until they are cooked through but firm as that versions requires. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, green onions and chopped herbs.
- Grilled steak on a medium grill, turning once, until medium rare to medium. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let sit five minutes.
- Assemble. Lay out some rice noodles on the plate. Pour dressing over salad and add some salad to each plate. Slice the flank steak against the grain on a diagonal and lay on top of the salad. Top dish with some fried garlic chips.