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Grilled steak salad with sesame-peanut noodles

August 6, 2008

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Serves 4

Bill Flumerfelt, chef of Icarus, serves this steak as an appetizer over Japanese udon noodles and pea tendrils. To make the dish more substantial for a main course, use steamed baby bok choy or seasonal greens such as red leaf lettuce as the base of the dish.

1flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3tablespoons light soy sauce, or to taste
1 1/2teaspoons mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
1/4cup rice wine vinegar, or to taste
3scallions (green part only), thinly sliced
2tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1tablespoon Thai chili sauce
2cloves garlic, chopped
2teaspoons sugar
1pound dried Japanese udon noodles
1/2pound baby bok choy, halved or seasonal greens such red leaf lettuce
1/4cup toasted peanuts, chopped (for garnish)
1. Light a charcoal grill or turn a gas grill to medium. Sprinkle the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. With the tip of a paring knife, make shallow cross-hatch marks on the steak so it doesn't curl on the grill

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sesame oil, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, mirin, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, scallions, cilantro, chili sauce, garlic, and sugar; set aside.

3. Once the grill is hot, place the flank steak on the rack, cover the grill, and cook for 8 minutes, turning once, or until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 125 degrees for rare to medium rare. Cook longer for more well done meat. Let the steak cool.

4. Slice the steak thinly against the grain.

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the noodles are tender but still have some bite. Drain them and transfer to a bowl.

6. Set aside 1/4 cup of the dressing. Toss the noodles with the remaining dressing. If you like, sprinkle the noodles with more soy sauce or rice wine vinegar. Let the noodles cool to room temperature.

7. If using baby bok choy, bring a saucepan fitted with a steamer insert and several inches of water to a boil. Add the bok choy, cover, and steam for 4 minutes or until just tender.

8. Place the bok choy or red leaf lettuce on each of 4 dinner plates. Add noodles and strips of steak. Sprinkle with the remaining dressing and garnish with peanuts. Adapted from Icarus