A simple flank, top round or sirloin steak, marinated in a dressing with a soy sauce base and then broiled or grilled, is one of those easy, fast dishes that never seem to go out of style.
I understand the appeal, but with today's meat-on-the-side, vegetables-in-the-middle sensibility taking hold, it's time for an update.
That same steak, thinly sliced and mixed with snow peas, carrots and shiitake mushrooms, becomes a main-course salad that beautifully blends meat and vegetables.
Much of this dish may be fixed ahead of time. The vegetables may be cut, cooked where needed and refrigerated up to a day before assembling. The steak may be cooked up to two days in advance.
The salad is best the day it's assembled but may be refrigerated for up to two days.
Teriyaki steak, snow pea and shiitake salad
For the steak:
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons light or dark brown sugar
1 pound top round, sirloin or flank steak, preferably 1 to 11/2 inches thick
For the salad:
6 ounces snow pea pods
3 tablespoons mild olive or peanut oil
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1-ounce piece fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2 small carrots, well scrubbed, then grated (4 ounces total)
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar or sushi vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon toasted white or black sesame seeds (see note)
To make steak: Combine soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and sugar in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add steak and seal, pressing out as much air as possible. Massage through the bag to coat evenly. Refrigerate 4 to 12 hours, turning bag over every few hours if possible.
Broil or grill steak to medium-rare or to desired doneness. Cool to room temperature, then thinly slice into strips about 11/2 inches long.
To make salad: Bring medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a bowl with cool water and ice cubes.
Lightly salt boiling water, then add snow peas and cook for 1 minute. Drain, immediately transferring snow peas to ice-water bath. Cool for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towels. Cut each snow pea pod lengthwise into 2 or 3 strips (discarding strings) and place in a mixing bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive or peanut oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shiitake strips; cook 3 to 4 minutes, until mushrooms wilt. Add chopped onion and ginger; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, just until onion starts to soften. Transfer vegetables to the mixing bowl to cool.
Add grated carrots and sliced steak, along with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Toss to combine thoroughly. Let stand 15 minutes, then toss again. Taste; adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with remaining teaspoon of sesame seeds and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Note: Toast sesame seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool before using.
Nutrition per serving: 230 calories, 20 g. protein, 9 g. carbohydrates, 13 g. fat, 40 mg. cholesterol, 200 mg. sodium, 3 g. sugar