Tender rice noodles and a trio of green herbs define this fresh Asian main. If you can find Thai basil, use it here for authentic flavor.
Vietnamese Flank Steak Salad
For the spicy marinade:
2 Tbs. peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) soy sauce
2 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, white and light green portions, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 Thai chile, seeded and thinly sliced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 flank steak, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 lb. (750 to 875 g), trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 head Bibb lettuce, torn into small pieces
1 heart of romaine lettuce, chopped into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. minced fresh basil, plus small leaves for garnish
2 Tbs. minced fresh mint, plus small leaves for garnish
2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro, plus small leaves for garnish
1 lb. (500 g) Asian cellophane noodles, soaked in water until soft, then drained
To make the marinade, in a bowl, whisk together the ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, garlic, green onions, shallot, chili, lime zest and lime juice. Spoon half of the marinade into a small serving bowl and set aside.
Using a sharp knife, score the steak on both sides in a crosshatch pattern, cutting no more than 1/2 inch (12 mm) deep. Place the steak in a shallow dish, pour the remaining marinade over the top and turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill.
Remove the steak from the marinade, letting the excess drip back into the dish; discard the marinade. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the steak on the grill directly over the heat and cook, turning once and brushing with some of the reserved marinade, until done to your liking. Transfer to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
Assemble the salad in individual bowls by dividing equal portions of the lettuces, carrot, cucumber, red onion, minced basil, mint, cilantro and noodles among them. Pour 1 Tbs. of the reserved marinade over each portion.
Slice the steak across the grain into thin strips and place on top of the noodles and salad greens. Garnish with the basil, mint and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately, passing the remaining marinade at the table. Serves 4.
Find more vibrant and versatile salads for every season in our cookbook Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan.