Saturday, July 25, 2015

Grilled Vietnamese Flank Steak with Cucumber Salad

Nuoc cham is a much beloved Vietnamese dipping sauce. In this Melissa Clark recipe, the sauce is used as both a marinade for the steak and a dressing for the salad. In Vietnam, this dish is often accompanied by rice, but you can keep it paleo by just omitting it.

Now a word about the salad. I prefer using English cucumbers as they are firmer and more dense than regular cucumbers. And always buy fresh radishes that have the greens on them. That means they are newly picked and they will have more heat and crispness than the radishes you buy in a bag.

½ cup fish sauce (Red Boat recommended)
1 tablespoon packed lime zest
cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 large jalapeño, seeds and veins removed if desired, minced
1 flank steak, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 small seedless English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 large bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Sesame seeds (optional)
Fresh mint leaves and cilantro, for serving (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic and jalapeño. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the flank steak and let marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate for up to 24 hours). Let meat come to room temperature before cooking.
  2. Combine the cucumber, radishes and scallions. Pour in just enough of the marinade sauce to coat.
  3. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  4. Pat steak dry with paper towels. Grill steak for 5 minutes, then flip and grill for 5 minutes more. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes covered in foil.
  5. Thinly slice steak and serve with the cucumber salad. Garnish with sesame seeds and plenty of mint and cilantro  and serve with remaining marinade as a sauce.  

Wine pairing: Zinfandel (Rombauer, if you are lucky)

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