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Thai Beef Salad

Indio, California:  Dave and I have a ritual. Nearly every evening, when we are finished with our day, we stop and sit down together and discuss the day - even if we spent the entire day together. We will have a cocktail or a glass of wine. I will put out a few nibbles, usually nuts, which we enjoy while relishing the view down the canal in Indio, or from our front porch in Oregon, or from where ever in the world we may be. Maybe a baseball game will be on the television. Maybe the PBS News Hour. Usually nothing. We really enjoy this time in the evening and I can really relax because dinner is already prepared.

I usually prepare our dinner before lunch. By this I mean, veggies have been chopped, casseroles have been assembled, meats are marinating, soups only need to be heated, something is in the crockpot, sauces or salad dressings whisked, and everything is organized and ready to cook, toss, plate or serve.

Which is why I just love this recipe. The steak can marinate all day, the greens can be washed and dried, the veggies can be sliced in advance - and DT does the grilling. Perfect.

We would always eat this salad when we visited Thailand and order it often when dining at a Thai restaurant, but why fly 14 hours or even go out when Thai Beef Salad is easy to make at home? Don't eat meat? Use the marinade on sliced tofu and grill.

1/3 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (like canola)
Juice and zest of two limes
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Serrano chili (or jalapeno) minced, seeds removed if desired
Flank steak, about two pounds
One head of Romaine, Iceberg or Butter lettuce, or combination, torn
Handful each of fresh basil, mint and cilantro leaves,
      coarsely chopped - plus additional cilantro as garnish, if desired
One English cucumber, sliced
One red pepper, slivered
Cherry tomatoes, as desired
About one cup slivered white or yellow onion
Mix the fish sauce, soy sauce, vegetable oil, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, minced garlic and minced chili in a small bowl. Stir well, and reserve 1/3 cup of the sauce to use as the salad dressing. Place the steak in a ziptop bag or shallow dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the flank steak and let marinate, refrigerated, for several hours, or even overnight.
Bring steak to room temperature. Remove from marinade (discard marinade) and grill the flank steak over a fairly hot temperature, until steak is cooked as you prefer. Remove steak to a plate, cover with foil and let the steak cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, place the torn lettuce, chopped basil, mint and cilantro in a large bowl. Toss with the reserved sauce. Arrange dressed lettuce on a serving platter and place the cucumber slices, slivered red pepper and tomatoes decoratively around the platter. Sprinkle the slivered onions over the top of the lettuce.
Slice the cooled steak, against the grain, into thin strips, then lay the steak over the lettuce and onions. Garnish with additional cilantro leaves, if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6 - and can be stretched with additional lettuce and vegetables.

Until my next update, I remain, your beefy correspondent.