Vietnamese-Style Steak Salad

From the Wine Enthusiast Pairings Book

This stir-fried beef and rice noodle salad makes great picnic fare. The beef-noodle combination marinates en route to the picnic, while the greens and vegetables, packed separately, stay cool and crisp, awaiting a mealtime toss with soy-lime dressing.


An Alsace or domestic Gewürztraminer, with its spicy, floral character, tempers but doesn’t drown the kick of salt and spice in this dish; recommended Alsace producers include Zind-Humbrecht, Trimbach and Domaines Schlumberger; recommended domestic producers include Sineann and Navarro.

  • 4 ounces rice noodles (vermicelli)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, well trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small head Boston lettuce, shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated peeled carrot
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves

In a small saucepan, cook the noodles in boiling water until soft, about 3 minutes. Drain, and rinse. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. In a small jar, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and pepper flakes and shake until the dressing is well combined.

Slice the steak against the grain into thin strips.

In a wok or large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the beef, in batches, and stir-fry until just cooked through. Remove to the bowl with the noodles; add half the dressing and toss until well coated. Let cool. In a bowl, combine the lettuce, cucumber, carrot, and mint.

(If you are making the dish as picnic fare, transfer the beef-noodle mixture to a reclosable plastic bag and the vegetable mixture to a covered plastic container and stow both, along with the jar of remaining dressing, in a cooler. Remove both about 30 minutes before serving.)

Just before serving, toss the greens with the remaining dressing and divide among 4 plates. Top each with the beef and noodles salad.

Published on December 17, 2009
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