Capture the flavors of Vietnam with this savory salad. The simple dressing brings out the flavors of the fresh vegetables and rice noodles. It takes a few extra minutes to slice and prepare all of the ingredients for the salad. Once that’s done the dish is ready in minutes.
Many Vietnamese recipes call for fish sauce, also called nuoc mam. It is made from anchovies, salt and water and is left in wooden barrels to ferment. It has an intense flavor. It can be hard to find, so I use low-sodium soy sauce as a substitution and it works well.
VIETNAMESE BEEF SALAD
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 cup peeled, thinly sliced cucumber
1 cup snow peas cut into ¼ inch slices on a diagonal
4 cups finely sliced Chinese cabbage
¼ cup chopped mint leaves
4 ounces rice noodles
¾ pound grass-fed beef tenderloin
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon nuoc mam or reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
Place a large saucepan ¾ filled with water on to boil over high heat. Place carrots in a bowl and add the vinegar. Set aside, stir once in a while to make sure all of the carrots are marinating in the vinegar.
Slice the cucumber, snow peas, cabbage and chop the mint. Set aside.
When the water comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and add the rice noodles. Boil 2 to 3 minutes until the noodles are tender. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Cut the tenderloin almost in half lengthwise and open like a book. Sprinkle with black pepper on both sides. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloin and saute 3 minutes. Turn over and saute 3 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 125 degrees for rare or 145 degrees for medium rare.
Mix the lime juice, sugar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger together in a large bowl. Add the noodles, carrots with their liquid, cucumber, snow peas, cabbage and mint leaves. Toss well, separating the noodles with a fork if needed. Add salt to taste.
Divide the salad between two dinner plates. Slice the steak and place on the salad. Sprinkle the peanuts on top. Makes 2 servings.