I love the freshness, spiciness and complex balance of South East Asian cooking. I was never much of a greens eater, but I devour herbs and raw vegetables in these salads. You have all your complementing textures and flavors here in this Vietnamese Steak Salad: sweet, salty, sour, crunchy, soft, not to mention that this concoction is pretty good for you, too.
It’s worth buying a good quality steak, as the meat is just seared. Make sure you use Vidalia onions for optimal sweetness. Gently caramelize them in a bit of vegetable oil – don’t cook too fast, medium-low heat will do.
But exqueeze me, fruit, vegetables and meat together? Hell, yeah! It’s totally, totally fine, even though it took a while for my brain to process at first. Once you grasp the basics, it’s also easy to substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand.
I include a link to a julienne peeler below – it’s hard to cut the carrot so finely otherwise, unless you have an evil mandolin. (I had one. I value my fingers more than pretty carrot sticks)
Here we go:
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 450g (1lb) beef fillet, cut into steaks 1 inch thick
- ½ cup beansprouts (not pictured)
- 1 bunch each: basil, mint, cilantro - stalks removed, leaves torn
- 6 cups of mixed greens
- 1 grapefruit, segmented
- 1 large carrot, sliced into fine julienne style (this will change your life)
- roasted peanuts, for garnishing
- 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced and caramelized, for garnishing
- 1 lime, cut into slices (to serve)
- 2 tbs raw cane sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 lemongrass stalks, finely sliced and chopped
- 1 red Thai chilies, seeded and finely sliced
- 2 limes, grated and juiced
- 2 tbs fish sauce
- To make the dressing, place the sugar, garlic, lemongrass and chilies in a mortar. Pound until it forms a paste. Add the lime juice, rind and fish sauce. Mix to combine. Set aside.
- Pour the oil into a heavy pan, or wok, and rub around the base with a brush. Heat the pan and sear the steaks for 1-2 minutes per each side. Turn over only once. Transfer them to a board and leave to rest until cooled slightly. Using a sharp knife, cut into thin slices. Toss the slices in the dressing, cover and leave to marinade for 1 hour.
- Drain the meat or excess juice and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the vegetables and toss everything together. Garnish with caramelized onions and peanuts.