Thai Grilled Beef Salad


Grilled beef salad is usually a crowd-pleaser, and this Thai version hits all the high notes: smoky, beefy, spicy, herbal, sweet, salty, citrusy. I like to toss in copious amounts of mint, basil, and cilantro to create a robust salad that almost competes with the meat. Flank steak, grilled to medium-rare and then thinly sliced, works well for meatiness and uniformity. Best of all, everything is served at room temperature, so this dish is perfect for a summer potluck.


3 tablespoons fish sauce for the marinade, plus 6 tablespoons fish sauce for the dressing

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 garlic cloves, smashed, plus 4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 pounds flank steak

2 medium cucumbers, halved, seeded, and sliced into half-moons

2 medium tomatoes, halved or quartered

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems, plus more for garnish (optional)

½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves and stems

Sea salt, to taste

1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and finely sliced

4 dried Thai bird’s-eye chiles, coarsely torn, or 1 teaspoon Thai roasted chili paste

1 tablespoon Sriracha, or to taste (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons of fish sauce with the
1 tablespoon of lime juice and smashed garlic. Place the flank steak in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade evenly over it. Cover, and marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, until the meat comes to room temperature.

Prepare a hot grill, or preheat a stovetop grill pan. Remove the meat from the marinade, and grill it for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until it’s well seared on the outside and firm to the touch, but still very pink in the center. Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.

While the meat rests, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, basil, cilantro, and mint in a medium bowl. Toss with a sprinkling of sea salt to draw out the liquid. Discard the liquid.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining lime juice and the fish sauce, the chopped garlic, lemongrass, chiles, and Sriracha if using.

To serve, slice the meat diagonally across the grain into ½-inch-thick slices. Just before serving, gently toss the meat and vegetables with the dressing. Garnish with additional cilantro
if desired, and serve at once.