Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Shaking Beef

Shaking beef, or Bò lúc lắc, is a classic Vietnamese dish typically reserved for special occasions, since beef is considered a luxury. The term "shaking" refers to shaking the pan back and forth to quickly sear the cubes of marinated beef.

This dish is surprisingly light and refreshing, especially for a red meat recipe. The salad served beneath the beef cubes is slightly sweet, tangy, and vibrant. It does a great job cutting through some of the richness of the beef. The meat juices are also extremely delicious and fragrant, boasting the melange of flavors found in the marinade. It all blends together in a hot and cold concoction that cooks in minutes to shake up your summer menu.

Shaking Beef
Serves 4
(From Vietnamese Food Any Day)

Marinated Beef:
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
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, put through a press or minced and smashed
1 1/2 pounds boneless tri-tip or New York strip steak, trimmed and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral oil

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion or shallot
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar or honey
2 pinches fine sea salt
About 4 grinds black pepper
4 cups lightly packed watercress, baby arugula, or other salad greens
6 to 8 halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh mint, basil, or other herb leaves, torn (I used fresh cilantro)

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.

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

Heat a large, heavy 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. (If you want to minimize mess, cover the pan with a splatter guard, and flip the meat with a spatula.) 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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