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.
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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