Salad on the grill

Probably 70% of my meals are prepared on my grill in the summer (and the other 30% don’t require any cooking at all). It keeps my apartment cool, means fewer dishes to wash, and it’s just damn fun.

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This recipe, like the grilled mahi, is perfect to make on a relatively cool day before a heatwave since it doesn’t need any re-heating for leftovers–just assemble the salad and slice a few pieces of cold beef to top it off. It would also be great served as separate components for “make-your-own” rolls in rice paper wrappers.

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Perfectly juicy and warm (though slightly out of focus) the day it’s made
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Cool and just as tender and tasty the next day for dinner

I’m lucky enough to live near plenty of Vietnamese grocery stores to get some of the ingredients, but I’ve also seen most of them in the Asian section of the grocery store. The only thing I have trouble finding is Thai basil, but don’t let that stop you from trying this.

Last note on the meat choice: I used to make this with skirt steak, but I asked the butcher at the meat market if he recommended any other cuts that might be a bit cheaper ($14/pound is just too much for me), and he suggested flat iron steak. While it only saved me a few dollars a pound, this is now my go-to cut for salads, fajitas, or anything else I’ll be grilling and slicing. It cooked perfectly, was easy to slice, and just looked pretty.

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Vietnamese Grilled Steak Salad
Serves 4-5, modified from a Bon Appetit recipe

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup  fresh lime juice
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger (about an inch-long piece of ginger root)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoon finely minced jalapeño, seeded and deveined

Steak and Marinade
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon medium-dry Sherry
2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
Remaining jalapeño, roughly chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger root, roughly chopped
1 pound flat iron steak

1 small red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 shallots, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
4 pineapple slices

4-6 oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 bunches watercress, bottom 2 inches discarded, cut into 1-inch lengths
3 cups mizuna leaves, torn in half if very large (another peppery green like arugula can be substituted)
2 cups Bibb or other butter lettuce
1 cup Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, sliced very thinly on diagonal
10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

In a jar or bowl, combine dressing ingredients, mix or shake well, and set aside. This makes about twice the amount of dressing you’ll need for the salad, but it’s great on just about anything.

In a plastic bag or glass dish, assemble marinade ingredients. The marinade is very flexible–chop whatever ginger, garlic, and jalapeno were leftover from making the dressing and add the oyster sauce, tamari, sherry, and brown sugar. Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar, then add steak. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Heat your grill to medium or medium high heat. I lightly coat my grill grate with a little canola oil after it’s hot since it seems to stop food from sticking too much. Remove steak from marinade and grill over direct heat for around 3 minutes per side for medium rare (grill temperatures and steak thicknesses vary, so be aware that your timing may differ). Set steak aside to rest while you grill the rest of the ingredients.

Recoat the grill grate with oil, lightly brush onion and shallot with oil, and grill until slightly softened. Follow the same process for the pineapple (I make double the amount of pineapple and use it for ice cream topping, mixing into yogurt, or eating plain).

Gently mix mushrooms, lettuces, basil, tomatoes, and cucumber, top with a few slices of onion and shallot and some of the pineapple. Slice the steak thinly across the grain and arrange it over the salad. If any juices accumulated while the steak was resting, pour those over the steak, and finish with 1-2 tablespoons of dressing per salad.

5 thoughts on “Salad on the grill

  1. Your salad looks delish! I was wondering if you like your Lodge grill? I’m looking for something small, but not flimsy. Is it good for grilling veggies? Would you recommend it as a good buy? Thanks so much–and, congrats on your new blog!


    1. Thanks Cheri! I LOVE my grill, it is not flimsy in the least, and it was definitely a great purchase in my mind. I cook all kinds of vegetables on it, my favorites are mushrooms, onions, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, par-cooked potatoes (small ones or thick-sliced regular potatoes), corn, and carrots, which sounds weird but which turned out to be my new favorite.

      And thanks, this is a nice outlet for sharing things I’m passionate about and I hope other people find it useful too 🙂


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