Lime Beef Salad

Beef doesn't always have to be a caveman dish. It can be delicate and accompanied by crunchy, colorful, healthful produce. Serving meat with a salad satisfies the carnivore in you but it doesn't make the meat the star of the show: the veggies are. Use good-quality fish sauce-and don't be afraid of this ingredient: It's the secret element that adds depth to the salad. This refreshing but earthy salad is perfect with an Austrian Gruner Veltliner.

Excerpted from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee (Artisan Books). Copyright 2013. Photograph by Grant Cornett.
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Photo: Lime Beef Salad

TOTAL TIME: 45 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 15 min
 
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

VINAIGRETTE:
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
SALAD:
  • 8 ounces green cabbage, shredded as thin as possible
  • 1 plum tomato, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1 mango (find one that is slightly underripe and still firm), peeled, pitted, and cut into thin matchsticks
BEEF:
  • 8 cups water
  • A small knob of ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ounces boneless beef, sirloin or eye-of-round
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, coarse stems removed, leaves and tender stems finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
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Directions

1. To make the vinaigrette: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Cover and chill.

2. To make the salad: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss well. Cover and chill.

3. To make the beef: Put the water, ginger, garlic, and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes while you pound the beef.

4. Cut the beef into thin slices: you should get about 8. One at a time, place each slice between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with the bottom of a small saucepan or a rolling pin until paper-thin. Transfer to a plate.

5. Remove the chilled vinaigrette from the refrigerator. Using chopsticks or tongs, gently drop a few slices of beef into the simmering water and cook for just 10 seconds, or even less if you like your beef a little on the rare side. Remove the beef slices and immediately drop into the chilled vinaigrette. Repeat with the remaining beef slices.

6. Add the beef and vinaigrette to the salad. Toss gently and arrange on small salad plates. Top with the cilantro and peanuts and serve immediately.

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