thai grilled-beef salad

thai steak salad 4

My habit is that on weekdays, I eat vegetarian and am healthy, and on weekends, I eat meat and am not healthy. I save alcohol and lately even dessert for weekends. It all evens out in the end so that I’m relatively fit and trim, but I’m starting to wonder – would it be so bad to eat meat and be healthy, all at the same time?

thai steak salad 1

Steak doesn’t have to mean huge T-bones and potatoes. It can mean slivers of beef mixed with herbs and served with cucumbers. This flank steak is seasoned with salt and (white) pepper, grilled and sliced, then dressed with a mixture of lime juice and fish sauce. Toasted white rice powder deepens the flavors while fresh herbs lighten them.

thai steak salad 3

I wonder how many other great meat-topped salads are out there that I’ve been overlooking. Although even if there aren’t any others worth trying, I’d be perfectly happy making this one over and over again. Eating healthy on weekends doesn’t feel like a sacrifice when it tastes so good – and besides, I still get to have a glass of wine on the side.

thai steak salad 5

One year ago: Garlic Mustard Glazed Skewers
Two years ago: Seafood Lasagna
Three years ago: Vanilla Ice Cream

Printer Friendly Recipe
Thai Grilled-Beef Salad (from Cooks Illustrated)

Serves 4 to 6

1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon white rice
3 tablespoons lime juice (from 2 limes)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon sugar
1½ pound flank steak, trimmed
Salt and white pepper, coarsely ground
4 shallots, sliced thin
1½ cups fresh mint leaves, torn
1½ cups fresh cilantro leaves
1 Thai chile, stemmed and sliced thin into rounds
1 seedless English cucumber, sliced ¼ inch thick on bias

1. Heat the paprika and cayenne in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat; cook, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl. Return the now-empty skillet to medium-high heat, add the rice, and toast, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a second small bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Grind the rice with a spice grinder, mini food processor, or mortar and pestle until it resembles fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds (you should have about 1 tablespoon rice powder).

2. Whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, water, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon toasted paprika mixture in a large bowl and set aside.

3. For a Charcoal Grill: Open the bottom vent completely. Light a large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When the top coals are partially covered with ash, pour the coals evenly over half of the grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover, and open the lid vent completely. Heat the grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

For a Gas Grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat the grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave the primary burner on high and turn off the other burner(s).

4. Clean and oil the cooking grate. Season the steak with salt and white pepper. Place the steak over the hot part of the grill and cook until it’s beginning to char and beads of moisture appear on the outer edges of the meat, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the steak and continue to cook on the second side until charred and the center registers 125 degrees, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes (or allow to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour).

5. Slice the meat, against the grain and on the bias, into ¼-inch-thick slices. Transfer the sliced steak to the bowl with the fish sauce mixture. Add the shallots, mint, cilantro, chile, and half of the rice powder; toss to combine. Transfer to a platter lined with cucumber slices. Serve, passing the remaining rice powder and toasted paprika mixture separately.

thai steak salad 6

Comments

  1. Oh wow this looks fantastic!!!! What a great lighter (and still flavorful) way to prepare beef, I’m sure we’ll be making this son!

  2. I agree that eating meat can still be eating healthy. This salad looks like a perfect meal.

  3. I just wrote a blog post it’s very similar sentiments. The salad is 1 of my husband’s favorite thing to order at thai restaurants. Looks great!

  4. I bookmarked this salad as well – your’s turned out so pretty. I can’t wait to make it now!

  5. This is my kind of dinner! Yum, it looks fresh and delicious, will be trying this one! Thanks, Chris

  6. LOVE that third photo from the top. The greens surrounding the big slab of charred meat…it’s foreshadowing a delicious marriage of flavors!

  7. thanks for the great tipp with the white rice powder!

  8. Beautiful salad! I much prefer to eat meat when it’s thinly sliced and paired with vegetables. And those Asian flavors – right up my alley. Glad you posted this.

  9. It is 4:30 in the morning and I want this. Yum! I eat very little meat as well but this looks too good to pass up.

  10. i have similar habits (except for dessert, i can’t wait until the weekends for that!), but i agree–this salad looks delicious and weeknight friendly!

  11. This just looks amazing. I just ate and am now hungry again. You take lovely photos as well. Glad I found your blog.

  12. eerica says:

    We made this two weeks ago and I’ve been craving it since. MMMMMMM!

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