Steak Salad

April 22, 2010

Coming home late, along with the intention of working after dinner, we had to come up with a quick meal.  So we figured steak salad, Vietnamese style–which also means served with rice.  Strikingly tasty dish, though simple and easy.

No time to write up our own recipe, thus a referral:  the following recipe from does a decent job.  Though a few things to note:  jalepeno pepper in SE Asian food just sounds weird, so go with Thai chili peppers, if you want real spice.  Otherwise leave it out.  The combination of soy sauce and fish sauce is counter-intuitive, double up one or the other.

Also, this might NOT work for this recipe, but a technicality:  many English-language recipes will call for sugar to sweeten fish-sauce–what they don’t tell you is that VN cooks actually boil the fish sauce to bring in the sugar.  And then let cool before serving.  Adding the garlic, lime, peppers, and mint leaves as the sauce cools.

This recipe can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

Yield: Serves 2


1/2 head romaine
1/2 small English cucumber
1 small shallot
1 small fresh jalapeño chile
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
a 1 1/4-inch-thick rib-eye steak (about 3/4 pound)
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves


Tear romaine into pieces into a bowl. Halve cucumber lengthwise and seed. Thinly slice cucumber crosswise and add to romaine. Chill romaine mixture, covered. Mince shallot, jalapeño, and garlic (wear rubber gloves when handling jalapeño) and in a large bowl stir together with lime juice, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, fish sauce, and sugar until sugar is dissolved.

Pat steak dry and season with salt. In an 8- to 10-inch heavy skillet heat remaining tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté steak 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes.

While steak is standing, stack mint leaves and thinly slice. Toss mint with romaine mixture and all but about 2 tablespoons dressing until combined well. Divide salad between 2 plates and slice steak. Toss steak with remaining dressing and arrange on salads.