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Sesame Steak Salad with Asian Pears

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Serves 4

  • by Jennifer Armentrout from Fine Cooking
    Issue 106

This fresh salad is a riff on bulgogi (Korean beef BBQ), in which Asian pears contribute a sweet note to the marinade. To get a nice, crunchy sear on the beef, make sure your skillet is good and hot.

  • 1 lb. boneless beef strip steak
  • 2 medium Asian pears (8 oz. each)
  • 2 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
  • 1 T bs. plus 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 small head Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small romaine heart, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 4 large red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 medium seedless cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil

Trim and freeze the steak until slightly firm, about 1 hour; this makes it easier to slice. Cut the steak crosswise into 4 pieces. Flip each piece onto a cut edge and slice across the grain 1/8 inch thick.

Cut one of the pears in half. Peel and core one half and then grate it on the small holes of a box grater set in a medium bowl. Add the minced scallions, garlic, ginger, mirin, 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, 2 Tbs. of the soy sauce, 1/2 Tbs. of the sesame oil, 1 tsp. of the sesame seeds, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Add the beef and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 4 hours.

In a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar and fish sauce with the remaining 1 Tbs. lemon juice, 1/2 Tbs. soy sauce, 1 Tbs. sesame oil, and 1 Tbs. sesame seeds.

In a medium bowl, toss the lettuces with 3 Tbs. of the dressing and a sprinkle of salt. Divide among 4 dinner plates. Core and thinly slice the remaining 1-1/2 pears. Put the pears, radishes, and cucumber in the bowl and toss with the remaining dressing. Scatter over the lettuce.

Drain the beef and gently pat dry. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil, swirl to coat the pan, and then scatter half of the beef evenly in the pan. Cook, flipping once, until the beef is nicely browned and barely cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining beef.

Top the salads with the beef and any accumulated juices. Garnish with the remaining scallion greens and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with steamed sushi rice and Shochu Watermelon Lemonade.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 280; Fat (g): 15; Fat Calories (kcal): 140; Saturated Fat (g): 3.5; Protein (g): 21; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): 15; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): 420; Cholesterol (mg): 50; Fiber (g): 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

It was really good, but next time I'll add some chilli.

Amazing! I used flank steak instead, carved it raw & marinated it for an hour. For the salad I made matchsticks of the radish, cucumber, pear and carrot to red leaf and Bibb lettuce. Tossed with the dressing. I quickly cooked the beef in a cast iron pan. At the table we served some salad, then topped with beef. My teenagers and my husband loved it!

This is a fantastic recipe. The pear adds a sweet fresh note, and all the ingredients work well together.

Several of us thought this was the best salad we had ever eaten. The flavor combinations were wonderful.

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