Wednesday, June 17, 2009
"Hey honey, what's for dinner tonight?" asked my husband.
"Salad!" I replied enthusiastically.
(Cue whiny voice) "Oh maaaan! Salad for dinner?" came his response.
"Yes," I chimed cheerfully. And then two words that changed the course of his evening, "Steak Salad."
There's a little restaurant down in Portland called Pok Pok that was featured this month in Food and Wine (June). This Thai restaurant is run by a decidedly pale white guy named Andy Ricker. He is passionate about authentic ingredients and will even forgo making a dish if he find something necessary to it.
What started out as a little BBQing out in his front yard, Pok Pok has added several more grilling apparatus' to the mix making it a full fledged eatery. When asked about his success he says, "Plenty of Thais could come to America and do a better job than me. My only advantage is my ability to present the food in a way Americans understand."
Enter Ricker's Thai Steak Salad Recipe (actually entitled "Warm Flank Steak Salad with Mint and Cilantro"). I've changed a couple of things which I'm sure would irritate Ricker's authenticitometer...but oh well. I don't have a restaurant reputation to protect.
In a large glass baking dish, mix:
1/4 soy sauce
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 TB minced fresh lemongrass (1 stalk)
One 2 lb flank steak
Coat the steak and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Fire up the grill. Grill the steak for about 4 minutes on each side so that it is still pink in the middle. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice it in half lengthwise and then in 1/4 inch strips.
In a large wok or skillet heat together until hot:
3 TB fresh lime juice
2 TB Asian fish sauce
1 TB crushed red pepper (yes, it's a little on the spicy delicious side and might require a rinse for sensitive kiddies)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 TB freshly minced lemongrass (1 stalk)
Add in the steak, 1 TB of marinade and:
1 onion, thinly sliced (he calls for 2 shallots, but I never have those!)
1/2 c mint leaves
1/4 c cilantro leaves
(and 2 tsp roasted rice powder...I substituted ground sesame seeds, but you could skip this ingredient, I think)
Coat everything with the sauce, transfer to a platter and serve warm. Oh, and I threw in some Thai Basil mostly because it's growing in my back yard. I love fresh herbs! Food and Wine suggested a Shiraz, but I think a Singhai could do the trick, too.