Thai Inspired Flank Salad

July 16, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 1 large salad
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mainesoul
  • AntoniaJames
  • gingerroot
  • lakelurelady
  • SKK

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

28 Reviews

mainesoul February 20, 2014
Made this. I let it marinate for 24 hours but did not score it. It was wonderful.
aargersi February 20, 2014
Oh I am so glad to hear that - thank you for letting me know!
AntoniaJames August 4, 2011
Mmmm, yum. This one looks so good. It's definitely on the "must-try-soon" list!! ;o)
gingerroot July 20, 2011
This sounds amazing. You are the Queen of the Grill, and on fire this week!
Motherof3boys July 19, 2011
My dad makes Thai salad all the time he uses London Broil.
lakelurelady July 19, 2011
Love the ingredients. You know your Thai flavor profile.
SKK July 18, 2011
Great recipe! Thank you for sharing it.
lorigoldsby July 18, 2011
beautiful salad!
Lydiac July 18, 2011
Wonderful recipe. It is perfect for these hot and humid summer days and I can get all the vegetables out of the garden.
nannydeb July 18, 2011
Saved. Yum.
healthierkitchen July 18, 2011
Yum! And I completely agree about the deflated feeling when a restaurant dish isn't as good as you hope.
fiveandspice July 18, 2011
Wow! That's what I have to say.
Maria T. July 18, 2011
For a non meat eater, this looks amazing! Great recipe.
aargersi July 18, 2011
I bet you could replace the fish sauce with amino acids, and marinate tofu instead, and get a similar effect!!
Maria T. July 18, 2011
Wow, the girl knows her stuff! Thanks aargersi for your input. I don't mind the proteins and can eat them, it's just that I don't particularly enjoy meat, but I can eat it, no problem. No fanatic here, maybe just with offal!
Fairmount_market July 18, 2011
Looks spectacular.
cookinginvictoria July 18, 2011
Saved -- what a creative recipe! This salad sounds and looks amazing with all of the fresh Thai flavors. Love your beautiful photo too.
TheWimpyVegetarian July 17, 2011
Great idea and wonderful flavors! And my mandolin is also jaws. The worst cut I've ever had was off a mandolin when I was in school. It wouldn't stop bleeding and I ended up having to put a latex glove so I could finish the ($&@%) dish. I still use the mandolin, but with much more respect now...
lapadia July 17, 2011
Love it, great flavors!!
EmilyC July 17, 2011
Looks fantastic, aargersi! This looks better than any of the steak salads I've seen/tasted in my local Thai restaurants!
Sagegreen July 17, 2011
You are on flank steak fire! Saw this quickly yesterday to give a quick like. Yum.
Lizthechef July 16, 2011
So terrific - also copying you and naming my mandoline "Jaws" ;)
aargersi July 17, 2011
It earned that name when I removed a snack size chunk of finger the first time I used it - now I wear kevlar gloves AND use the safety slider deal - that HURT!
meganvt01 July 16, 2011
Wow - this looks amazing! So fresh and summery!