Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Thai Steak Salad

Seems kind of crazy to have a recipe for salad, but I'd say that this is really more about the dressing. It's not like anything I've made before, that's for sure.

The recipe is adapted from The Better than Takeout Thai Cookbook by Danette St. Onge. I'll have to admit that I've never actually had Thai takeout, but there was a local Thai restaurant I used to go to - but that was mostly curries. I don't think I ever had a salad there.

This all started when I had half of a New York strip steak left over. I considered making steak tacos, which is pretty much what I do any time I have leftover steak.

But then I started thumbing through the cookbook that I just got from cookbook club I belong to (we all buy a different book, and then all the books get passed around so everyone gets a chance to cook from all the books) and I saw the steak salad. It seemed perfect.

I love salad. I really do. Sometimes I'll make salad as a snack.

I didn't have all of the ingredients this recipe called for, and I added a bit more tomato and scallion than the recipe called for, but don't we all fiddle with recipes? Anyway, the part that fascinated me was the dressing. I'd never thought of adding fish sauce. And there was no oil.

While this recipe is for a steak salad, I think it would be pretty amazing for a salad with shrimp or chicken or pretty much anything else you happen to put on salad.

One thing I really liked about this recipe was that it made a relatively small amount of dressing. I've seen recipes in cookbooks that made a quart ... that's good for a week. Since this is so simple, there's no reason to make a lot, unless you're feeding a lot of people.

When I made this, I cut back on the dressing, since I just had that little half-steak instead of a whole pound of beef, and it was just about perfect for a single salad. The dressing is so flavorful, you really don't need a lot.

Grilled Steak Salad (Yum Nuea Yang)
Adapted from The Better than Takeout Thai Cookbook by Danette St. Onge

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground roasted chili powder (there's a recipe for this in the cookbook, but you could substitute your favorite chili powder, sharp paprika, or even a few drops of hot sauce, to taste)
1 teaspoon palm sugar or granulated sugar (or to taste)
(If your scallions and shallots are strong, I'd suggest tossing them into the dressing right away. The acid will take away some of the bite.)

For the salad:
1 pound thin flank steak, strip, hanger, or flap steak (I used a leftover piece of strip steak)
4 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot (I skipped this and added more scallion)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
4 tablespoons mint leaves, coarsely chopped

To make the dressing:
Stir all the ingredients together and set aside. I'd suggest giving it a little taste to make sure the lime isn't too strong, since limes can differ a lot. Add more sugar if you think it needs it.

To make the salad:
Grill the steak on a grill pan, outdoor grill, or in a hot cast iron skillet to get a nice crust and cook it to your preferred temperature. Let it rest for a few minutes before slicing across the grain into thin, bite-sized strips. (If you happen to have a leftover steak like I did, just toss it in a skillet to warm it. Leftover chicken, pre-cooked shrimp, or anything else you happen to like would work well, too.)

Toss the steak, dressing, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Serve this warm on a bed of your favorite lettuce.