Grilled Steak Salad With Fish Sauce Vinaigrette

May 15, 2018
6 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

My new favorite way to grill skirt and flank steak? Marinating them *after* they’re grilled in a spiky, flavorsome fish sauce vinaigrette. Not only is it a faster path than marinating before grilling, it’s a better path in terms of flavor and texture. By grilling skirt steak naked (with salt, pepper, and a little brown sugar to promote caramelization), it chars beautifully. A 10-minute post-grill marinade is all that’s needed to impart punchy, crisp flavors. Add some grilled sugar snap peas, shaved radishes, and a tangle of watercress and herbs dressed in more of the fish sauce vinaigrette, and you’ve got yourself a main-dish salad that’s speedy, satisfying, and perfect for summer. Substitute other vegetables such as grilled zucchini, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes to make this all season long. —EmilyC

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The Salad That Even Non-Salad People Go Crazy For. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the grilled steak and vegetables
  • 1 pound skirt or flank steak
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 splash vegetable oil
  • 1 small bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and strings removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped herbs (I like a mix of cilantro and mint)
  • 1 handful Sesame seeds, for serving
  • 3 handfuls watercress or arugula, for serving
  • For the fish sauce vinaigrette
  • 6 tablespoons fish sauce (I like Red Boat brand)
  • 2 tablespoons water, or more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  1. To make the vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake until the sugar is dissolved. Add another tablespoon of water if it’s too salty/strong. Adjust seasoning and acidity, to taste. Tip: keep the vinaigrette at room temperature so it doesn’t cool down the steaks when used as a post-grill marinade.
  2. Pat the steak dry with paper towels, and season both sides evenly with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and brown sugar. Refrigerate while getting the grill ready.
  3. Heat the grill to medium-high heat and brush your grates clean.
  4. In a bowl, toss the sugar snap peas with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Place a grill tray or mat on the grill grate (to prevent peas from falling through); add peas and arrange in a single layer. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until tender and charred and still bright green. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.
  5. Lightly brush the steak on both sides with vegetable oil. Grill the steak to your desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side (for medium-rare, the internal temperature should reach 130 degrees F). Transfer the steak to a pan or casserole, and pour one-half of the vinaigrette over the steak. Let marinate for about 10 minutes, turning the steak a few times. Transfer to a cutting board, and thinly slice across the grain. Don’t discard the vinaigrette/marinade! Pour it into a small bowl or serving vessel for passing at the table.
  6. Meanwhile, toss the grilled sugar snap peas with the sliced radishes. Add vinaigrette to taste, tossing several times to coat. Taste; season with a pinch or two of kosher salt, if needed.
  7. On a large serving platter, combine the sugar snap peas, radishes, chopped herbs, watercress, and steak. Sprinkle sesame seeds and drizzle a little more of the vinaigrette over the salad. Serve warm or at room temperature, passing more vinaigrette at the table.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tracie
  • EmilyC
  • Emily
  • Brooke Kuerbis
    Brooke Kuerbis

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

10 Reviews

Emily June 15, 2022
Just tried this tonight and my husband and I are obsessed!!! We used an Akashi Prime Flatiron grilled to 125. Sliced and added to half the marinade. The other half of the marinade we added rice wine vinegar, yuzu ponzu, and avocado oil to make a richer vinegarette. We used parsley and Basil, but mint would be awesome. Other crunchy veggies would work in addition to or instead of radish and snap peas. Might try cucumbers, bean sprouts, or pea shoots. Also we bulked it up with more fresh mixed greens along with the arugula. Thanks for the great recipe! Looking forward to adding this light and satisfying salad to our regular rotation.
Brooke K. August 18, 2020
Sooo good! I threw the sliced pieces of meat back in the marinade prior to adding to the salad as well to get all sides. Added some sliced bell peppers well. Will try avocado next time. Need to like fish sauce however. New family favorite!!
EmilyC August 20, 2020
Wonderful! Thanks, Brooke, for trying this and circling back!
Dinah H. April 13, 2019
Just put this together for a nice lunch. Had all the ingredients, so was inspired by this recipe to use them up. I love fish sauce, but a little goes a LONG way. I halved the dressing recipe and it was more than enough. The crunch of the peas and radishes is what makes the salad. I made this all in my kitchen...broiled the peas in my toaster oven and sliced some leftover beef, which had been grilled. I used cilantro and Italian parsley for the herbs, and added pea shoots to the arugula and leafy greens. I also added avocado, which has a nice creamy texture to balance the crunch and saltiness of the other ingredients. Truly delicious!
EmilyC April 14, 2019
So glad you liked this, Dinah! Thanks for sharing your notes, too!
Tracie June 30, 2018
Could I just ditch the sugar in the dressing or could it be replaced with something else?
EmilyC June 30, 2018
Hi Tracie, it’s there to balance and round out the flavors, especially the fish sauce. You could try honey, or if you leave a sweetener out, then start with a smaller amount of fish sauce and taste and tinker as you go. Hope this helps!!
EmilyC June 30, 2018
I meant to add that if going the honey route, start with a smaller amount!
keritexas May 29, 2018
This looks delicious . I'm wondering - do you think I could save and freeze leftover steak? Should I save it Whole or sliced? In the marinade? Thanks !
EmilyC May 31, 2018
Not sure as I’ve never actually tried freezing cooked steak. But I’d probably opt for marinating it first, then freezing it (sliced or whole) tightly wrapped. Let me know if you try it!