Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Spicy Thai Inspired Steak Salad

After indulging over the last few months in everything that I love about this time of year, including big family dinners, sweets, wine and too many cheese plates to mention (Brie with spicy cranberry pepper chutney, oh, where have you been all my life!), it's time to take a step back. To evaluate. To gain control over my appetite (and appetites) for the rich foods in life. It's time to rework my diet.

I know that the phrase, "going on a diet", is thrown around pretty loosely in the days before New Year's Eve. A resolution earnestly said along with "spend more time at the gym", "flossing regularly", and "using eye cream". I have tried several diets over the years with varying success, but my favorite way to eat (notice I didn't say "diet") is more along the lines of high protein, low carb, and little processed foods. This is not to say that I don't splurge from time to time! I am only human.... With a lust for good chocolate and a weakness for mimosas... And baked goods... And cheesecake...Sigh.

This Thai inspired steak salad is a very easy dish to make and completely diet friendly in my book. The flavors are a great mix of salty, sweet, sour, and savory. The steak is marinated in a heady mix of fish sauce, garlic, lime juice, and spices and the salad is chock full of fresh raw vegetables. Add in a handful of roasted peanuts and it's a completely satisfying lunch or dinner. Especially true when served with my Mother in Law's Thai Noodle Salad (future post), for my non-dieting husband and kids.

I think this recipe could easily be adapted to a vegetarian dish by replacing the steak with firm tofu. Optional additions like roasted unsalted peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, or scallions create more texture and flavors. The marinade/dressing is so good that it's worth making extra!

Spicy Thai Inspired Steak Salad

Recipe adapted from

For the Marinade/Dressing

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds of flank steak, lightly scored (I used sirloin because that is what was available)

For the Salad (assemble just before grilling the steak)

1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup of julienned carrots (a mandolin slicer is great for this!)
4 cups of torn romaine lettuce (I used mixed greens)

Optional Additions

Toasted sesame seeds
Roasted unsalted peanuts
Chopped scallions
Thai basil

For the steak- Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Remove half of the marinade to a small bowl and reserve for dressing your salad. Pour the remaining marinade into a large seal-able plastic bag and add your steak. Seal tightly and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours (I did 5 hours). Remove the steak and throw away the bag with the marinade.

Preheat your grill. Grill the steak to medium rare and allow to rest 5 minutes on a board. Slice thinly across the grain.

For the salad- layer your greens, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and carrots on a large platter or on individual plates.

To assemble- place your steak slices on top of the prepared salad and thinly drizzle with the reserved marinade/dressing. Add additional garnishes such as scallions, roasted unsalted peanuts, avocado, Thai basil or fresh mint.

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