Thai Steak Salad

This is a family favorite. All ye who enter through my dining room and have been served this rave about it. It is a go to for company because it is impressive despite the fact that it is dead simple. If you’re on a budget you can use flap meat instead of flank or skirt. If your even shorter on time than this takes, you can just make the steak and serve it sliced with rice and it is still good. You can also substitute chicken thighs for the steak using the same weight.

Thai Steak Salad

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Serves 4-6

For the steak

2 lbs of flank steak, skirt steak or flap meat

6 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil

4 tablespoons fish sauce

4 tablespoons brown sugar

For the dressing

2/3 cup fish sauce

1/2 cup warm water

6 tablespoons lime juice

5 tablespoons sugar

2 medium garlic cloves, minced (I use the microplane for this)

2 thai chilis, minced (this is optional depending on your spice preference and if you are serving to kids)

For the salad

1 head butter leaf lettuce

1 cup shredded carrot

1 large cucumber, seeds removed, diced

6 cups cooked hot jasmine rice

1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts (I use Trader Joe’s 50% reduced salt)

1/2 cup loosely packed  basil leaves (preferably Thai basil but Italian works)

1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro

1/2 cup loosely packed mint

To assemble

In a bowl big enough to fit the steak, combine the oil, fish sauce and brown sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add steak to the bowl and turn until coated. Put a plate over the bowl and stick in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. You can also throw this all in a ziplock but I am trying to avoid unnecessary waste these days and the bowl works great. Either way turn the meat over once or twice during marinating.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together until sugar dissolves. I like using ball jars for this. I put all the ingredients in and shake. That way you already have storage for leftover dressing.

Make the rice according to your preferred method. I use a rice cooker which I cannot live without and can’t recommend highly enough.

Separate all the leaves of the butter lettuce and wash. Rip the leaves into large pieces (smaller leaves can stay whole) and  lay out in an even layer on a large platter. Spread the cucumber and carrot over the lettuce and set platter aside.

Remove the steak from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill steak to your preferred doneness depending on the cut you are using. Tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.

Gently toss the lettuce, carrots and cucumbers with 2 tablespoons of dressing and make a ring around the outside of the platter with the salad leaving a space in the middle for the rice. Scoope the rice into the middle of the platter and pour 2-3 tablespoons of dressing over the rice.  Top rice with sliced steak, herbs and peanuts. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of dressing over the steak and serve with extra dressing on the side.