Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Thai-Style Steak Salad

J and I are both fans of dinner salads.  With the success of some of the salads I've made in the past, I figured this Thai-style salad was worth a shot. 
I don't know if I have a larger pantry than many people (I probably do...), but when I read a recipe like this and start to adjust it in my head, I usually have all of the ingredients for things like the marinade in the house already.  A well stocked pantry with a variety of flavours to play with makes cooking more fun - if I had to go buy the things that make these flavours I'd probably stay away because it's expensive to stock up.  But I would say that by stocking up over time, the upkeep on a good pantry is not that bad.  Things like sesame oil and seasoned rice vinegar for Asian tastes, or cumin and chipotles for Mexican foods aren't used up quickly but add a huge amount of flavour and adventure in the kitchen.  If nothing else, a little adventure in life is a good thing.
I changed things somewhat from the original recipe.  I halved the recipe so that it was only for 2, instead of 4.  I halved the strips of carrot for ease of eating, and marinated the carrots and bean sprouts instead of pouring the reserved dressing over the mixed vegetables.  I also subbed sesame oil for some of the vegetable oil because I love the toasted flavour of sesame oil, especially with spinach as a base instead of romaine lettuce.
But in terms of quick dinner, this salad fits the bill.  Outside of marinating time, I think I put this together in about 30 minutes.  Quick dinners.  That's how we roll around here.
I present to you now from the May 2006 Everyday Food, Thai-style Steak Salad:

2 Tbsp Lime juice
1-1/2 tsp soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1-1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz steak
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 medium to large carrot, cut in half
5 oz baby spinach
1 c bean sprouts
1/4 c salted, roasted peanuts, chopped

1.  Make the marinade:  Whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, oils, and pepper flakes.  In a ziploc bag, combine steak and pour half the marinade in the bag with the steak.  Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 mintues.
2.  Peel carrot, and then use the vegetable peeler to slice the carrot in long, thin slices in a medium bowl.  Add bean sprouts, and pour remaining marinade over the carrots and sprouts as you prepare the remaining ingredients for the salad.  Toss to combine.
3.   In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook steak to medium-rare (about 3-4 minutes per side).  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.  Slice steak across the grain into slices about 1/4" thick.
4.  Build your salad:  On a bed of spinach, divide carrots and sprouts between the two plates.  Top with steak, and then pour leftover dressing from the carrot bowl over the two salads.  Scatter with chopped peanuts and serve immediately.
Adapted from Everyday Food, May 2006

I had never thought of slicing carrots into long ribbons like this.  It was remarkably simple.  I decided to marinate the carrot and sprouts after making a similar dressing for the Vietnamese Steak Sandwiches I made last summer.  I'm thinking a little chopped green onion next time would be fantastic.
Then I cooked and sliced the steak, and layered everything.
Before adding the final flourish of chopped peanuts.  They were a perfect addition - a different texture, and lots of  flavours for a delicious dinner salad that both J and I enjoyed.

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