Thai food rocks my world. Dishes like pick-your-color curries, green papaya salad, pad thai, and mango sticky rice; flavors like lime, coconut, lemongrass, and basil all rock my world. Living in Honolulu with access to the best Thai food on U.S. soil rocked my world. Watching the Thailand episode of ‘Around the World in 80 Plates’ rocked my world.
This salad, while not an authentic Thai dish at all, will rock your world. It rocked the Booze Hound’s world, and he could live the rest of his days with nary a glance at things like green eggplant curry.
Green eggplant curry has a special place in my heart because it was what my father-in-law described as ‘what my backyard pond looks like’ to the non-English-speaking waitress at our favorite Thai restaurant in Honolulu. But I guess you can’t blame him when his favorite Chinese restaurant serves each table a basket of Italian bread, and the Booze Hound described Thai food to his parents as ‘Chinese food, but different.’ Way to be accurate, Booze Hound. They spent the rest of the night trying to tell the lovely waitress that they wanted fried rice. Then they were convinced they were eating raw fish when their chicken fried rice appeared.
Needless to say, Thai food did not rock my in-laws’ world, and I had a delicious bowl of green eggplant curry all to myself.
But even they would like this salad, which is amazingly delicious and has Thai flavors sneakily intertwined with more common Asian flavors to satisfy both tame and adventurous eaters, alike. Plus, it’s all delivered in the form of a steak salad, which is about as American as apple pie.
Components that appeal to the Thai food lover: the dressing/marinade contains red curry paste, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and lime juice, and the salad contains shredded mint, cilantro and basil.
Components that appeal to the, um, less adventurous eater: soy sauce, lettuce, carrot, red pepper, and steak.
Components that appeal to the chef: the marinade and dressing are one in the same, making this very appealing for a speedy dinner.
Components that appeal to the Booze Hound: steak. Everything else complements the steak and makes it tastier.
Whether you find the scent of lemongrass intoxicating or think green curry looks like pond scum, this salad delights the little Thai Buddha in all of us.
- 6 T freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 4 T soy sauce
- ¼ c mild-tasting olive or canola oil
- ¼ c brown sugar
- 1 T grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 t red curry paste
- 2 t chili-garlic sauce
- 2 t Thai fish sauce
- 2 lbs skirt steak
- 2 heads Boston/butter lettuce (or about 1.5 bags salad greens)
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced or grated
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- ¼ c packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ c packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 12-16 large basil leaves, roughly torn
- Combine all ingredients for the dressing, whisk well to thoroughly incorporate. Pour ½ c dressing into a large zip-top plastic bag, and add the skirt steak. Seal the bag and let steak marinate in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Refrigerate the rest of the dressing until ready to dress the salads.
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Divide the lettuce, shallots, carrots, red pepper and herbs evenly among 4 salad bowls. When grill is ready, grill skirt steak for about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, then let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Slice steak against the grain and divide slices among the salad bowls. Top with reserved dressing and toss to coat.