Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Thai Beef Salad with Mango
We don't often eat beef in our house, mainly for environmental reasons. In fact for about six months now I've limited my beef intake (whether at home or in restaurants) to just once a month, as I find it more justifiable from a sustainability perspective. When I do eat beef, this is exactly the sort of dish I like to have. In fact I ordered a very similar dish to this one at Houston's a while back and loved it. Every bite was crammed with intense flavors - lime, chile, mango, cilantro, and more.
I found an unnecessarily complicated recipe for Thai Beef Salad in the new Williams-Sonoma cookbook and decided to adjust it to make it a bit more user-friendly. And now I'm sharing it with you! The dressing is incredibly flavorful without overpowering the taste of the beef and mango - a pretty great replica of the salad from Houston's, if I may toot my own horn. If you don't eat beef at all (hats off to you) then feel free to substitute fish, chicken, or tofu.
Thai Beef Salad with Mango
Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed and kept divided
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 pound flank steak
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro stems
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (approximately 1 medium-sized lime)
3/4 teaspoon minced lemongrass or lemongrass paste
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 mango, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1/2 head of red-leaf lettuce, or a bag of baby salad greens
1. Prepare the marinade for the steak: stir coconut milk, one clove of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and the minced cilantro leaves in a large bowl. Add the flank steak and turn to coat well. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Prepare the salad dressing: in a food processor, combine the chile, remaining garlic clove, cilantro stems, mint, pepper, lime juice, remaining brown sugar, and lemongrass. Process until there are no significant chunks. With the processor running, stream in the canola oil. Put dressing in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate.
3. Cook the steak: Preheat oven to 400. Preheat a stovetop grill pan over high heat, or prepare outdoor grill. Remove steak from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade. Place the steak on the grill and sear, turning once, until brown on both sides, 5-6 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer steak to a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes (depending on how well done you like your steak). Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.
4. Slice steak into thin strips and pour any juices released during slicing into the dressing. Add the beef, mangoes, and scallions to the dressing and toss to coat. Serve over lettuce leaves.
The flavors were beautiful. My monthly beef was well spent on this meal! Enjoy.