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Author Notes: (Originally posted on www.iatethewholething.com) This salad is a perfect juxtaposition of flavors. There’s a certain balance from the ultra fresh, harmonious herbs and cucumber against the rare beef that is so satisfying. It’s almost Zen-like… almost.
A few notes: the finger chili I mention below is something I used to find at a grocery store back home. They were long (about 6"), smooth-ish and very mild--practically no heat--but a great chili flavor. Unfortunately I don't know their botanical name and "finger chilies", as I've learned, usually refer to cayennes, which these are not. So, that all said, any mild red chili will work here or just leave it out. I also like my beef for this very rare but obviously cook it to whatever temperature you prefer. And I know that some Asian cuisines consider sea salt a crude ingredient but I love the sharp saline spike they bring.
Regarding Gluten Free: check to make sure you fish sauce is gluten free (some are, some aren't). I know there is some controversy and confusion around vinegar and gluten free diets. I admit that I'm no expert but make sure your vinegar is gluten free (meaning it hasn't been mixed with any other vinegars that do have gluten) —David Rash
For the Salad
- 1 pound steak (flank/London Broil, top blad/flank, or even strip, flat iron or New York - about 1" thick)
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 4 - 6 green onions (thinly sliced)
- 1 cup whole cilantro leaves
- 1 cup whole mint leaves
- 5 ounces spring greens, baby lettuce greens, baby Asian greens
- Scant 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- A few pinches sea salt flakes (optional)
For the Dressing:
- 2 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 red finger chili, seeded and minced
- 2 - 3 drops sesame seed oil
- 1 small hot red chili, minced
- Start by mixing everything for the dressing, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Split the cucumber in half lengthwise, scoop the watery “seed” membrane from the center and either thinly sliced into half-moons or, if you’re feeling dexterous or have a julienne peeler, julienne into strips.
- Tear up the lettuce and mix on a large platter with the herb leaves and sliced green onions and set in the fridge until everything’s ready – no more than 20 minutes, though. If you want to chop the herbs a little bit do so roughly but do not do this in advance or they will wilt and turn black.
- Preheat your grill or grill pan and let it get screaming hot. Slather the steak with enough vegetable oil to coat it, moderately, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Once the grill is very hot, slap the steak on and grill it for about 3 – 4 minutes before flipping and grilling an additional 2 – 3 (or a thermometer reads about 125°, give a few degrees).
- Move to a foil lined plate and cover with more foil for 10 minutes where it will carry-over cook to a perfect medium-rare at 130 – 135°.
- Once it’s wrapped in its foil parcel, plunk the cucumbers into the dressing.
- After the steak has had its time to rest, thinly slice it on a bias against the grain. If any juices from the beef have accumulated in the foil, plunge the beef back into it so it can soak it up.
- Lay the beef across the salad. Remove the cucumbers from the dressing scatter over the salad, adding a little more dressing as needed, and sprinkling with the crunchy flakes of salt if using.