8, Mar 2007
vietnamese beef salad

A salad with vietnamese-inspired flavors, topped with thin slices of grilled beef.

about 1/4 lb of thinly-sliced beef
1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and sliced
a couple of slices of red onion, coarsely diced
a handful or two of cilantro, chopped
a cup or so of hearts of romaine, with some leaves
1/4-1/2 c roasted unsalted peanuts, ground
nuoc cham
salt, black pepper, white pepper

Combine the carrots, onions, and cilantro in a salad bowl. Add enough nuoc cham to soak everything. Toss and let sit for half an hour or so. In a bowl, sprinkle the beef with a bit of salt and white pepper and toss. let sit a while. before grilling, add a bit of black pepper to each side. grill on a nonstick grill pan (with no oil) at med-high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Add the lettuce to the salad mixture and toss thoroughly. Grind the peanuts in a food processor until they’re a mix of medium-sized chunks and finer powder. Toss with the salad until the peanuts are thoroughly distributed, somewhat coating the ingredients. Serve the beef on top and garnish with some more ground peanuts and sprigs of cilantro.
This is really a simple recipe and how well it works depends primarily on how good your nuoc cham is. I’m still working on my nuoc cham, but this attempt was pretty good. There’s also a definite difference between the grilled meat I make and what I get in a vietnamese restaurant, and I have no idea what the difference is. I actually included a shallot in this attempt, but it was too strong raw; red onions, with some time to soak in the nuoc cham, are perfect. In all, a good simple dish.