Shaking Beef

 

Meat is precious and Buddhist traditions are strong in Vietnam, which is why dishes of beef are considered a luxury. Clever cooks cut tender, marbled cuts into small pieces so they soak up flavor, then cook them quickly and serve them hot with aromatic herbs. Here, the peppery, salty-sweet, juicy beef mingles with the light salad dressing to create a great sauce that pools on the platter, perfect for drizzling over rice. Watercress leaves warm and wilt under the Shaking Beef (so named for the back-and-forth shaking of the pan), while their stems remain crunchy.

Adapted from
Food & Wine Magazine
April 2012

Serves 4

Ingredients
For the Beer:
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/2 pounds boneless rib eye steak, trimmed and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces

For the Salad:
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon medium-dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar or honey
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups lightly packed watercress, baby arugula, or other salad greens
1 cup torn radicchio or 8 halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh mint,  Thai basil, or other herb leaves, torn
2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:
To Make the beef:Stir together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, fish sauce, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. If a saltier finish is desired, add up to 1 1/2 teaspoons more oyster sauce. Add beef, toss well to coat, and let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature.

To Make the salad: Rinse onions in a strainer under cold running water for about 10 seconds; set aside. Whisk together 2 tablespoons water, vinegar, sherry, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add onion; top with watercress, radicchio, and herbs. Do not toss.

Heat a large, cast iron skillet over high, and add oil. When oil is shimmering, carefully add beef in a single layer. Cook, shaking pan every 30 to 60 seconds, until seared on all sides and meat reaches desired degree of doneness, 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from heat. Quickly toss salad, and transfer to a platter or serving dish. Pile cooked beef and juices on salad, and serve immediately.

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