What we’re going to do today is we are going to make Warm Vietnamese beef salad. And this Warm Vietnamese Beef Salad goes really good now that we’re in the middle of summer and it’s very hot out here in Las Vegas. So what we’re going to do is; First, I’m going to show you how to make that the dressing for the salad.
In this dressing there is about 1 ¼ cup of fish sauce. And if you could smell what this fish sauce smells like, it doesn’t smell very good. But when you add fish sauce to other ingredients, it changes. It becomes a beautiful thing.
To this, we’re going to add 1 ½ cups of sugar. What you would want to do is you want to stir the sugar to dissolve. Just stir this mixture. To this, you’re going to add 1 ½ cups of lemon juice, approximately 3 tablespoon of sambal. Sambal is ground chili paste, I don’t know if you could see this. But it’s chili that has been grounded with vinegar. You could find sambal in your Asian markets. And last but not least garlic, you got to have the garlic. Just put a few cloves in there. Simply take the garlic cloves and hit it with the side of your knife. This helps in making the mint and the garlic a lot easier.
Keep in mind that Vietnamese cuisine uses a lot of fresh ingredients. They used lots of herbs, they use a lot of a coriander with the cilantro, mint, Thai basil. Thai basil, compared to Italian basil—I myself like the Thai basil a lot better. The flavors are more pronounced in the Thai basil than the Italian basil.
Okay. Like so, take your garlic and add it to your dressing. This dressing here keeps almost indefinitely. It goes great with just simple greens. If you had like a spring mix or if you would even grow some romaine, like lettuces—If you take your romaine and put it in your barbecue, take it off, pour some of this on. It is really good. It’s very user and friendly. It goes well with just fish, grilled fish, and grilled meat. And this is what you would end that with.
Now to complete the salad, what you would do is you would take your beef, turn on your pan—you could also cook the beef on your barbeque. Or if you don’t want a let up your barbeque, you could also pan fry this okay. The type of beef to use for this dish would be a skirt. If you don’t know what a skirt steak is, go to your local butcher, go to your supermarket, you could get the flank steaks. You could use merlot steaks, you could use fillets—you could just about anything you want.
What we are going to do is we’re going to take this. We’re going to season it with some salt. When ever I used salts in recipes, I do not like to use table salt. I love fluorine salt which is after sea salt or the next besting is kosher salt. A little bit of salt. Pepper, I don’t like pepper that comes pre-mixed or pre-grounded in a jar. I would suggest everybody at home to buy a pepper mill. There’s nothing like fresh ground black pepper. Okay, season both sides. Once again, salt, a little bit of pepper, no marinating is necessary for this recipe. If your dressing itself is so strong, and when you put this salad together at home, you’re going to see what I’m talking about. We’ll add a little bit of fat. You could use butter or you could use olive oil.
Now when you cook your beef, what you would want to do is you would want to have a hard sear, meaning you would want to sear the beef very well on one side and do it again on the other side until it is golden brown. That’s a hard sear. If you don’t hard sear your beef, what’s going to happen is that all the juices will run out of the beef. And when the juice has run out of the beef, you’re pretty much pouching your beef. You’re going to have a beef with no color. When you overload your pan, that’s it—when they always tell you to saut? or when you make stews for example that when you put your beef into the pan, you don’t want to load your pan up so that you don’t get any color. You want a good hard sear to sear in the juices, the natural juices of the beef. You want to keep those juices in the beef. That’s what a hard sear is. So, we’re going to hard sear this beef for about 30 seconds or so on each side.
If you have a barbeque, this would be a lot better because now with barbeques, you’re infusing flavor. We’ll take it off for a minute. In the meantime, what this recipe calls for is a cucumbers. If you have house cucumbers, Japanese cucumbers, cucumbers of your choice, whatever you have lying around. Perhaps you might have some cucumber salad leftover in your fridge, you could also use that. You don’t have to peel the cucumber completely. Take your cucumber, cut it in half, cut it in half again. Deseed the cucumber by taking your knife in and taking out the seed in an angle like so. Once again, take the cucumber, turn it off to its sides, take your knife and run across or you could just simple use a spoon and scrape the seeds out. Take your cucumber, large dice. This is what a hard sear looks like.
Take your cucumbers in the bowl, take your tomato—a little bit about tomatoes really quick. When you bite tomatoes, this is really brown. If you have the green stem on it, it’s good. This is where tomatoes keep ripening. People sometimes keep there tomatoes in the icebox when they come from the supermarket and the tomatoes might be under ripe. And I cannot see how tomato which is a fruit can get ripened in the icebox. You should leave your tomatoes out. Once the tomato has drawn its nourishment from the stem, you find tomatoes with stems on, right? If they’re green, its still drawing nourishment. You shouldn’t pull the stem off. You let the tomato continue to ripen with the stem on. You could tell how old the tomato is by its belly button. If it’s all dried, the tomato is no good.
At this time, you could adjust your fire or adjust the heat. I prefer to serve the salad when it’s medium-rare or medium, but then again, it’s all up to you whether you want it well done, whether you want it rare or raw. Take your tomatoes, cut it into two edges, cut it into halves, add that to your bowl. Like I said earlier, Vietnamese cuisine uses a lot of herbs. What we are going to add to this is we’re going to add mint, basil and cilantro. It’ always good to let your meat rest, if you take your meat out of the pan and you cut it immediately, and I am sure everybody did this once or twice, you poured in all the juices of the beef, all the marinate and all the flavors, you just lost it all on the board. You might as well and go ahead eat off the board, but we’re not going to do that.
You let your meat rest so the juice in the meat has time to fall back. So gets nice and even. We’re going to use some basil and some mint. What you would want to do is you want to take about 3 pretty good sized pieces of basil, mint can be strong. Most people like mint. If you don’t, it’s all up to you. Simply take it, rolled it and you want to thinly slice your herbs. If you don’t want to chiffon on your herbs, just go ahead and rough chop it. It doesn’t really matter. From this point on, it’s prints. So if you want to just rough chop the herbs, that’s fine too. Simply add this to your bowl. We’ll take some romaine. Take your romaine and just go ahead and chop it. Add this to your bowl. So now in this bowl, what you have is you have everything that would make a perfectly good salad. You have your tomatoes, you have your mint, you have your basil.
At this point, this should be good. You see how in the bottom of this bowl, you’ve got blood. Can you see this? The meat is resting. It’s still hot. The blood is still falling back. If you weren’t to hard sear this meat, right now, thing would be white and wouldn’t get any flavor. I am using skirt and this skirt steak—what I mean by the grains, the grains are running only in one direction. To make the beef as tender as it possibly can, you should never cut the beef with its grain, meaning if the grain is running up and down, don’t cut it at the same direction. Simply turn it to the side, hold your knife in an angle and do very thin slices. Take the beef, simply add it to your bowl like so. We’ll go ahead and we’ll take some cilantro. Cilantro can be rough chopped. I love using the stems from the cilantro and not just the leaves. Cilantro stem gives it a nice crunch. It’s still cilantro, it has a nice flavor. It gives it texture.
Take your dressing. The sugar has already been dissolved. Simply add it to your bowl. Give it a toss. It’s very refreshing. The mint for some reason during the summer time—doesn’t that look good? It’s nice and crisp okay. Take your bowl and simply go ahead and put your salad in.Oh! Look at that. It is light, it’s healthy and it’s refreshing. It’s great for the summer. If you want to go ahead and garnish it, just use some large pieces of cilantro. And there you go, you have a warm Vietnamese beef salad.