We're nearing the end of the July and that means we're also wrapping up our salad for dinner theme. You'd think with a whole month dedicated just to salads that things would get boring fast. But, as I've said before in Six Steps to an Awesome Dinner Salad, the key is mixing up flavors and ingredients. And as I've played around with those notions in the kitchen this month, I've realized that at some point I almost forgot that what I'm making and eating actually are salads. The grilled romaine, kale and mango, kohlrabi and apple, and bread and tomato, are all so different that preconceived salad notions, even my own, have been widely expanded. Not convinced? Well, I've got another salad for you: Thai beef. Guest Chef Yvonne Brunot, of Right Mind Farm and I, worked our way through this simple recipe at one of our farm to workplace cooking demonstrations. If you're unfamiliar with Thai food and have always thought it sounded a little too adventurous for your cooking abilities, here's your chance to see how wrong you are. And you probably already have most of the ingredients that constitute this salad as Thai cuisine on hand.
Thai Beef Salad
Of course, as a salad, this dish highlights produce you can find growing locally right now - lettuce, cilantro, garlic and onions, for instance. Though, as always, change things up to your liking. I threw in peas instead of peppers, as you can see in the picture, and chicken or tofu would be great as well.
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce, or reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 head lettuce, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
- 3/4 pound sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and thinly sliced
- 3 jalapeno or serrano chili peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 orange, peeled and white pith removed, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts
Stir together fish or soy sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl. Arrange lettuce on individual plates. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Stir-fry beef, in batches, until browned on the outside and still pink inside, about 1 minute per batch. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan and cook chili peppers, onions and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the sauce-sugar mixture and bring to a boil, stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in orange and cilantro. Place the beef on top of the lettuce, spoon over the sauce, top with the peanuts and serve.