MARGARET PROUSE: Recipe takes salad and grilled steak in a different direction

If the weather’s good, many families will barbecue at a get-together to celebrate Father’s Day. Steak cooked on the grill, served with a baked potato and tossed salad is a favorite dinner menu for such occasions.

This recipe takes grilled steak and salad in a different direction, towards Southeast Asia. The marinade adds sweet and spicy flavors to the steak, and a portion of it is set aside to become a component of a salad dressing. Serve the steak, noodles and salad vegetables as a one-dish meal, or add other salads on the side.

You should be able to find the ingredients at one of the large grocery stores; I did. Failing that, check with an international food store. If your gang is timid about spicy foods, omit the chilies and cut back on the ginger. Remember that much of the heat from peppers is in the seeds.

Flank steak is a lean, flavorful cut of beef from the belly muscle; it needs to be tenderized by marinating, and not overcooked. Flat iron steak, also called top blade steak, top blade fillet or shoulder top blade steak, is from the chuck, or the shoulder. It is marbled, and more tender than the flank.

Thai-Style Barbecued Flank Steak with Asian Noodle Salad

Adapted from Rainford, Rob: Born to Grill: over 100 Recipes from my backyard to yours. Appetite by Random House, Vancouver, 2012.

Steak

  • 125 mL (½ cup) soy sauce
  • 125 mL (½ cup) ketjap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) or regular soy sauce
  • 75 mL (⅓ cup) fresh lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 2 green onions, sliced ​​(white parts only; reserve green ends for salad)
  • 2 Thai chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) packed brown sugar
  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) sesame oil
  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) fish sauce
  • 15 mL (1 tbsp) finely grated fresh ginger
  • 15 mL (1 tbsp) finely chopped lemongrass, outer stalk removed
  • 500 g (1 lb) flank steak or flat-iron steak
  • canola oil for greasing
  • Kosher salt to taste

Salad

  • 60 g (2 oz) vermicelli-style dry rice noodles
  • canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, washed, dried and leaves separated
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced ​​into rings
  • 500 mL (2 cups) cherry tomatoes
  • 75 mL (⅓ cup) fresh mint leaves, divided
  • 75 mL (⅓ cup) fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 75 mL (⅓ cup) fresh basil leaves, divided
  • 75 mL (⅓ cup) dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) sesame seeds

For the steak, combine soy sauce, ketjap manis, lime juice, garlic, green onions, chilies, sugar, sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger and lemongrass in a bowl until well blended and sugar has dissolved. Remove half the marinade and set aside to use as a dressing. Place the remaining marinade in a resealable plastic bag.

Lightly score the beef in a crosshatch (diamond) pattern and place in the bag with the marinade. Give it a massage, and place in the fridge for four hours.

Fire up the charcoal, or preheat a gas grill. Grilling temperature should be around 180 C (350 F). For charcoal grilling, you’re ready to grill when a thick white ash has appeared on the coals. Place three-quarters of the hot coals to one side of the grill and place a few on the other side. Oil the grate with canola oil.

Remove the beef from the marinade and discard the used marinade. Season the beef with salt. Place the beef on the grill and cook for about five minutes per side, or until well marked and rare, or longer if you prefer meat less rare. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and let rest for five minutes before slicing. Slice very thinly against the grain.

Meanwhile, soak the rice noodles in warm water about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well and drizzle lightly with oil to prevent sticking.

Combine the smaller lettuce leaves, cucumber, onion, tomatoes and half the mint, cilantro and basil in a bowl. Add the reserved unused marinade and toss until well coated.

Mound the noodles in the center of a serving platter and top with the salad. Arrange the beef over the salad and garnish with peanuts, sesame seeds and remaining herbs.

Margaret Prouse, a home economist, writes this column for The Guardian every Friday. She can be reached by email at [email protected].

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