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Grilled beef salad with Thai basil

Serves 4.

Juice of 3 limes
4 tablespoons hot chili sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup canola oil
1 flank or skirt steak (1 pound)
3 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
6 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 scant pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh Thai basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
1. In a bowl with a fork, stir together the juice of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons of the chili sauce, the lemongrass, ginger, salt, and black pepper. Slowly stir in 1/4 cup of oil.

2. Place the beef in a shallow baking dish. Coat it with the chili mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill. When the coals turn gray or the gas is heated to medium, transfer the beef to the rack. Cover the grill and cook for 6 minutes on each side or until the beef registers 130 degrees on a meat thermometer for pink and juicy meat. (Cook the meat a few minutes longer for more well-done meat.) Transfer the steak to a cutting board and leave to cool.

4. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, scallions, bean sprouts, carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, mint, and basil.

5. In a small bowl, whisk juice from the remaining 2 limes, remaining 2 tablespoons of chili sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, and sugar. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup oil. Toss the salad with the dressing.

6. Arrange the cabbage mixture on four large plates. Slice the beef on an extreme diagonal. Divide the meat among the plates, sprinkle with peanuts, and serve at once.

Leigh Belanger

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