Inspired by a recipe in Donna Hay's Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry.
Minimal ingredient list, simple process, bright, fresh flavors—the virtues of this salad in a nutshell.
Beef: Feel free to use any cut you like. I love skirt steak for its flavor and quick cooking time. Amazingly, I found 100% grass-fed steak at my, as Kristen Miglore says, unpleasant grocery store, and it was very tasty. Also consider boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pork tenderloin, tofu—many proteins could be substituted for the steak.
Grill: An outdoor grill is preferable to prevent smoking yourself out, but an indoor grill will work, too. You don't have to grill the vegetables—I like a mix of half grilled and half fresh, but this is just my preference. —Alexandra Stafford
unsweetened coconut milk
fresh lime juice
hanger, skirt, or flank steak (see notes above)
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
heads romaine lettuce
cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced into half moons or julienned
4 to 5
scallions, ends trimmed
fresh herbs; a mix of cilantro and mint is nice
In a small bowl, stir together the coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Taste. If you like more fish sauce flavor, add another teaspoon.
Preheat grill to high. Coat lightly with neutral oil. Grill steak for 2 to 3 minutes a side, depending on thickness and on desired doneness. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste while steak is on the grill. Transfer steak to board to rest. Leave grill on.
Meanwhile chop one head of romaine into 1-inch pieces (roughly) and transfer to a large salad bowl. Halve the remaining head through the core. Lightly re-oil the grill. Transfer each romaine half to the grill, cut side down, along with the scallions. Grill vegetables for about a minute, just until lightly charred. Transfer to cutting board. Roughly chop the romaine into 1-inch pieces. Chop the scallions into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer vegetables to salad bowl.
When steak has rested for 10 minutes, slice it thinly and transfer to salad bowl. Add herbs and half of the dressing. Toss. Taste. Add more dressing to taste and season with salt if necessary. Toss and serve.