You get a Thai-inspired main-course salad that’s perfect for a summer night.
The spice is in the marinade, with red curry paste and black pepper, and in the salad dressing with the addition of a fresh jalapeño or serrano pepper.
Red curry paste is available at area grocery stores in the international aisle and at area international markets.
I use Maesri brand from the Cordova Farmer’s Market; it is all-natural and has great authentic taste. If you’re sensitive to spice, reduce the amount of curry paste and black pepper, and remove the seeds and membrane from the chili pepper. (It’s always a good idea to wear disposable gloves when handling fresh chili peppers.)
Freshly squeezed lime juice provides the sour element. It’s a lot of work to juice limes, but the flavor of freshly squeezed is far superior to anything made from a concentrate sold in plastic lime-shaped bottles.
Dark brown sugar in the dressing provides a touch of sweetness. Adjust the acidity/sweetness as desired with lime juice or sugar.
Salty comes from fish sauce, a condiment and seasoning common in Thai cuisine. Fish sauce is widely available.
When preparing this marinade, I use a garlic press instead of mincing or finely chopping the garlic.
The use of a garlic press is often frowned upon because it is believed to make the garlic bitter. However, a garlic press works well here to create a fine marinade for the steaks — you won’t end up with pieces of garlic just sitting on the steak. This small amount of marinade will not work well even in a mini food processor.
A good rest time for the steaks after grilling is important so the juices redistribute and you don’t have them running onto your salad. Allow the steaks to rest at least 5 to 7 minutes before slicing and serving.
Thai Beef Salad with Spicy Cilantro – Lime Dressing
Steak / Salad Ingredients
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon red curry paste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
- 2 (6-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks
- 1-2 Romaine lettuce hearts (depending on size), sliced
- 1 small handful fresh basil leaves (Thai basil if possible), torn
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced vertically
- 1 mini English cucumber, thinly sliced
- ½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 Roma tomato, quartered
- 1 small carrot, julienned
Combine garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, red curry paste and black pepper in a small bowl. Rub over steaks and let stand 30 minutes or while preparing salad ingredients.
Preheat a grill to medium-high. Cook the steaks 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium done. Allow to rest 5 to 7 minutes.
Combine lettuce and basil leaves and arrange on plates. Top with onion, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato and carrot.
Thinly slice steaks and fan out over top of salad. Drizzle steak and rest of salad with dressing as desired.
- 1 small bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- ½ cup canola or peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 small jalapeño or serrano pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender.
Process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
Adjust acidity/sweetness as desired with lime juice or sugar.
Serve with salad.