Asian Steak and Noodle Salad
['1/4 cup Asian fish sauce', '2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger', '2 garlic cloves, finely chopped', '2 tablespoons soy sauce', '2 tablespoons sugar', '2 lb flank steak', '1/2 cup fresh lime juice', '6 tablespoons water', '6 tablespoons sugar', '6 tablespoons Asian fish sauce', '1 1/2 teaspoons dried hot red-pepper flakes', '1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (2 medium)', '8 oz dried vermicelli rice-stick noodles*', '2 medium Granny Smith apples', '"7 oz Asian salad mix (16 cups loosely packed; see cooks note, below)", 1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into pieces if large', '1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts (sometimes labeled "cocktail peanuts"), chopped', 'an adjustable-blade slicer']
Whisk together fish sauce, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Pour marinade into a large sealable plastic bag. Pat steak dry and place in bag, then press out excess air and seal bag. Turn bag over 2 or 3 times to coat meat, then place in a shallow dish (in case of leaks) and chill at least 4 hours and up to 8. Bring steak to room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.
Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).
Remove steak from marinade (discard marinade) and pat dry with paper towels. Grill, uncovered unless using a gas grill, over direct heat, turning over once, until medium-rare, 12 to 14 minutes total.
Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand, uncovered, about 15 minutes.
Whisk together lime juice, water, sugar, fish sauce, and red-pepper flakes in a bowl until sugar is dissolved, then stir in shallots.
Cook noodles in a 5-quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water and drain well. Transfer to a bowl and toss with 1/2 cup dressing. 3Working around core of each apple, cut thin slices (about 1/8 inch thick) with slicer, then stack slices. Cut slices lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide matchsticks.
Combine apples, greens, and mint in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup dressing and toss well to coat.
Thinly slice steak across the grain.
Arrange noodles on a large platter and mound greens on top of noodles. Arrange steak slices on greens and sprinkle with peanuts. Serve at room temperature with remaining dressing on the side.
*Found in Asian markets and uwajimaya.com.
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