Grilled Lemongrass-Beef Salad

This recipe is from Alexandar Ong, Betelnut, San Francisco, California


1 flank steak, 2 pounds

1/3 cup water

1/3 Asian fish sauce

1/3 cup sugar

3 shallots, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks lemongrass, tender base part only, minced

1 to 2 red Thai chiles, minced

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 oranges

2 bunches watercress sprigs


Cooking Instructions

  1. Place the flank steak in a nonreactive baking dish.
  2. Combine the water, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the shallotss, garlic, lemongrass, and chiles. (Try a small piece of a chile to determine heat intensity before adding and adjust the quantity to your taste.) Pour over the steak and turn to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. Prepare and light a charcoal grill for direct cooking.
  4. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and whisk in the lime juice and sesame oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then place in the refrigerator.
  5. When the grill is at its hottest, place the steak on the cooking grate directly over the coals and cook uncovered, turning once, for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare; the timing will depend on the thickness of the steak. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of 1 orange, revealing the flesh. Place the orange upright on the cutting board and cut downward to remove the peel in strips, following the contour of the orange and removing all the pith. Then cut the orange crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Using the tip of the knife, pry out any seeds. Place the slices in a large bowl. Repeat with the second orange, adding the slices to the bowl.
  7. Add the watercress to the oranges and then pour in the cooled marinade. Toss to coat evenly. Arrange in a small mound on a platter. Cut the steak across the grain and on the diagonal into thin wide slices and arrange over the salad. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

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