THIS SALAD…guys, it’s a real good one. It’s fresh and crunchy, tangy and pungent, with a little bit of sweet-spiciness that plays so well with the savory steak. Plus, it speaks of my homeland! Always a bonus in the food department. I’ve used one of my favorite Korean flavors to mix up the dressing : Gochujang!
Gochujang is a chile paste made with fermented soy beans, glutinous rice powder, and red chiles. The result is a rich, spicy, salty, slightly sweet, pungent condiment that is a crazy flavor bomb. There really is nothing else like it and it’s an integral ingredient for the famous Korean dish, Bibimbap…making it much more than just a rice bowl. I have seen the suggestion that gochujang can be swapped out with sriracha…and while I love sriracha, that suggestion makes my heart cry. It’s just not even the same…AT ALL. I cannot stress this enough, it’s not a flavor easily replicated as it’s an aged, fermented product that has a level of funkiness only gained with time and fermentation. Anyway…if you can’t find gochujang (I suggest you get friendly with an Asian or Korean market — they’re like a pantry goods gold mine!), you could probably mix miso, sriracha, and some honey to get something close-ish. But, if you can find gochujang, get it! It will last in the refrigerator forever…like a year or more. It’s thick and a little goes a long way, I usually mix some with sesame oil, garlic, sesame seeds, green onion, a teeny bit of honey or maple, and some water to thin it, to top rice, eggs, vegetables, or really anything that needs a funky-spicy condiment.
Anyway, salad time!
The vinaigrette combines spicy, pungent gochujang with tangy rice wine vinegar, garlic, shallot, fresh ginger, and sesame oil. This dressing has some serious umami and face-punching flavor. It’s no wallflower of a vinaigrette and is the perfect thing to dress a pile of super crunchy, fresh vegetables.
I topped this salad with garlic and ginger rubbed steak. I like this method of a wet-paste kind of rub, I think the ginger and garlic really soaks into the meat, making it super flavorful yet still very beefy. Just a bit of steak goes a long way, it’s richness is addicting with the flavorful dressing and the fresh crunch of the slaw. I like mine topped with a little bit of roasted and seasoned seasweed, known as “gim” or “kim” in Korean or “nori” in Japanese. Sean kind of hates it and stares at me baffled when I eat it like chips…so, I left it off of his salad (more for me, yo!).
Asian Slaw Steak Salad
You can find Gochujang at any Korean grocery store, at well stocked pan-Asian markets, or even in the international aisle of some major grocery stores. It’s a great pantry staple and is fantastic on plain rice, eggs, or anything that needs a funky-spicy, asian kick. As mentioned above, I think that Gochujang is an irreplaceable flavor, but you can mix up something similar by stirring some miso paste with sriracha and a little honey or maple, to taste. I used a 10 ounce chuck steak for this, since it’s what was grass-fed and available at my market. This is fantastic with skirt steak (my original choice) as well, or really, whatever protein you prefer. An egg would be a killer addition.
for the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Gochujang
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced shallot (or onion)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons flavorless oil (I used grape seed)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
for the steak:
steak (up to a pound)
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, grated
salt and pepper to taste
for the salad:
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage
1/4 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/3 cup sliced sugar peas or snow peas
sesame seeds and toasted seaweed for garnish (optional)
Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a jar, shake to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Marinate the steak. Place the meat in a dish, mix the garlic and ginger together to make a paste, add a big pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Spread the paste all over the meat, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (to 2 hours). Remove from the refrigerator for 20 minutes before cooking, to bring to room temperature.
Heat a grill or grill pan to smoking hot, grill the steak on each side a few minutes to desired doness–my steak was about 3/4 inch thick, I did 5 minutes on one side, and then 3 ish on the other. We like our steaks rare-to-medium rare. Place the cooked steak on a plate, cover with foil, and rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Toss together all of the slaw ingredients (with or without dressing) and divide between bowls. Top slaw with steak, sesame seeds, and crumbled seaweed. Drizzle with additional dressing. [/recipe]