Sunday, July 3, 2011

Asian Flank Steak with Sugar Snap Pea and Pea Shoot Salad

This flank steak had about 10 different mental incarnations.  First I was going to stir fry it with snow peas and serve with pan-friend noodles.  My next idea was to simply season it with salt and pepper, grill it up and serve it with a homemade chimichurri sauce.  Then I was going to make a steak salad of some sort.  Finally I came up with this recipe after I got super excited at the farmer's market and bought some pea shoots.  They were just too beautiful to pass up.  I'm not sure that I have ever had fresh pea shoots in American cuisine, but they are one of my absolute favorite vegetables in Chinese cuisine (dou miao), where they are simply sauteed with garlic.  I love pea shoots cooked that way.  But I don't think I have ever had them raw.  The idea to put them in a salad came from my Cooking in the Moment cookbook by Andrea Reusing where Andrea has a recipe for a Pea Greens with Ume Plum Vinaigrette and Chive Blossoms.  We didn't have enough pea shoots to saute them (unfortunately), but we had a perfect amount for a salad.  So I re-evaluated my flank steak recipe and decided I wanted a vaguely Asian flank steak to go with a vaguely Asian pea shoot salad.  I had a few different ideas for an Asian marinade - the first thing I had to decide was whether I wanted to go Thai/Vietnamese with fish sauce, etc. in the marinade, Japanese with sake, Korean with some sesame oil and Korean red pepper flakes, or Chinese.  I ended up going vaguely Chinese with sherry and soy.  

I thought that these two dishes work together beautifully as a meal.   The flank steak is bold and in your face, with the savory flavors of the soy, the sweetness from the Sherry and the honey, and just a whisper of heat from the sriracha.  Then you contrast the boldness of the flank steak against the subtle flavors of the sugar snap pea and pea shoot salad.  The dressing is not going to blow anyone's mind or change anyone's life, but its subtlety really works to let the delicacy of the fresh pea shoots shine.  I'm a sucker for sesame oil so of course I like the dressing.  I really liked combining the salad and the steak together in each bite because I thought that they complimented each other so well, although both dishes were perfectly fine on their own.  Alex ate them separately and he thought the combination was really nice too.

Recipes after the jump!

Asian Flank Steak

1/2 cup dry Sherry
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tablespoons sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tbsp Asian sesame oil
1 tsp honey 
1 (1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound) flank steak

Whisk Sherry, soy, sriracha, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and honey together in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add steak and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature 1 hour, turning after 30 minutes. 

Preheat grill pan over medium-high heat. Transfer steak to grill pan. Cook steak until cooked to desired doneness, about 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove steak from grill pan and set aside 5-10 minutes. Cut crosswise into thin slices and serve.

Sugar Snap Pea and Pea Shoot Salad

1 cup sugar snap peas
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp Asian (toasted) sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted lightly
1-2 firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
3 cups pea shoots, washed well and spun dry, and roughly chopped
sea salt

Cook sugar snap peas in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain peas in a colander and cool in an ice bath. Drain in colander again and spin dry.

In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, sesame seeds, sugar, and soy sauce until sugar is dissolved.
In a bowl toss pea shoots and peas with dressing. Season to taste with sea salt. 


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