Thai Inspired Flank Salad

July 16, 2011
4 Ratings
Author Notes

At Thai places I often order a beef salad - and when I get a good one it's really good - but too often it ends up being overdressed, overly sweet, or served with sub-par lettuce, overcooked meat and too much oil. In those cases I kind of want to cry ... so I took matters into my own hands and now I know I am going to get something delicious and fresh every time. Thai food is all about the balance of sweet, salt, sour and heat, this salad has all components ... this is the balance I prefer, but follow your taste and adjust up or down accordingly! - aargersi —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

As much as I love it, Asian cooking is not one of my fortes. However, aargersi's phenomenal flank salad made me feel like a Thai-pro! Both the marinade and the salad dressing had the complex and refreshing balance of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy that characterizes good Thai food. The marinade especially -- and the excellent technique of scoring the steak, which I can't believe I've never used before -- yielded a richly flavored, juicy steak, and I'll be using it over and over again. I loved the detail of quickly grilling the scallions before adding them to the salad, which gave them nice sweetness, instead of bite. Really, I loved everything about this salad, and I wish I were eating it again right now. - fiveandspice —fiveandspice

  • Serves 1 large salad
  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • about 1.5 - 2 inches ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sambal olek
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 6 scallions
  • 4 cups salad greens
  • 1 beautiful tomato
  • 1 red onion
  • cilantro
  • mint
  • black sesame seeds - optional
In This Recipe
  1. Make the marinade - mix 2 tbs fish sauce, juice from 1 lime, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, the brown sugar, and the chili paste. Microplane in 1 inch of ginger and the garlic. Slice two scallions and the serrano paper and mix them in.
  2. Score both sides of your steak with shallow slashes about 1" apart in both directions, on both sides, so it has a diamond pattern. Put it in a shallow dish and spoon the marinade over - work that marinade in, pressing and flipping so the slashes really soak it up. Cover and fridge for at least an hour, 2 or 3 if you have the time.
  3. Make the dressing - whisk together the remaining fish sauce, honey and sesame oil, squeeze in half the other lime and microplane in the remaining ginger. Taste and add more lime of it needs it. Into the fridge.
  4. Slice the onion very thinly - you don't need the whole thing for the salad but I use Jaws (my mandoline) set on 1/8" so if I am going to dirty it up I may as well slice the whole thing, right? Put the onions in something that you can also fill with water and cover them and put them in the fridge too. After about a half hour, change out the water and back in the fridge - the takes out the bite and just leaves you with crisp sweet onions.
  5. Ready to eat? Heat the grill to medium high. Trim the remaining scallions, and take the steak out of the marinade - shake it off - it's OK if some bits of onion and pepper come along though. Grill the steak to your preferred doneness - I grill it about 6-7 minutes per side and flip twice for crosshatching to medium rare but it will depend on the steak and the heat. At the very end, grill the scallions for just a minute or so. Bring everything in, and let the steak rest while you assemble the salad.
  6. OK - wash the cilantro and mint. Tear a few leaves off each and toss them with the greens. Toss all of that with the dressing. Pile the greens on a plate. Take the onions out and pat as many as you want for the salad dry. Arrange them on top, then slice the tomato very thinly and arrange that on top too. Chop the grilled scallions and on they go.
  7. Now slice the steak - you want to slice it very thinly across the grain for maximum tenderness and ease of consumption. Pile steak on top of the salad. Now for the optional sesame seeds - I thought they looked pretty and added a little crunch, Mr L said they looked like fleas. Did I just ruin it for you? if yes, leave them off.
  8. Eat.

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I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage