Refreshing and crisp: Thai beef salad with VML’s Sauvignon Blanc

June 22, 2013

Thai Beef Salad

Last year my husband and I stopped into the tasting room for VML wines in Russian River Valley, and I discovered what has become my go to wine to pair with foods that have Thai, Malaysian, or Vietnamese flavors. As soon as I tasted the 2011 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc, hints of lemongrass and lime hit my palate. I picked up a single bottle at the tasting room, but after enjoying it at home with this Thai beef salad, I quickly placed an order for a case of the wine. It didn’t just pair well with the tangy fish sauce and lime juice dressing that goes on this salad, the combination really elevated the flavors into something new for me. One might think I’m a little off for pairing a white wine with beef, but this salad comes off with such a light flavor thanks to the citrus, mint, and cilantro, and the chili and fish sauce beg for something that doesn’t compete with their strong, unique flavors.

The best part about this meal is it comes together in the time it takes to cook and rest the beef. There’s minimal chopping, and if you fire up the grill, you not only don’t heat up the house, but you get to enjoy the outdoors before what I think is the perfect al fresco meal!

Thai Beef Salad
Serves 4
16 ounces beef filet
Olive oil
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
Butter lettuce leaves, enough to line each serving bowl
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon hot chili powder (such as Indian chili, cayenne, etc.)
3 shallots, finely sliced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/3 cup mint leaves, chopped

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Lightly brush the beef filet with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill to preferred doneness (I prefer rare to medium rare, which takes 3 to 4 minutes each side for filet) and remove from heat. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest while preparing the rest of the meal (at least 5 minutes).

Line each serving bowl with butter lettuce leaves, slightly overlapping each leaf. Mix the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and chili powder in a bowl. Slice the rested beef across the grain into 1/4 inch slices. Add the beef and shallots to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Place quarter of the mixture into each bowl in the center of the butter lettuce, reserving extra dressing. Garnish each dish with cilantro and mint leaves, and drizzle a bit of extra dressing from the bowl over top each salad.

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