Papaya Beef Salad
Papaya and mango salads are popular in the tropical climate of Southeast Asia. Both Thailand and Viet Nam have several versions, usually based on the crisp, unripened or “green” fruit. Green papayas are available in Caribbean and Southeast Asian markets, but ripe papaya can be substituted. The Vietnamese and Thais eat the salad more as a snack, but this one is made more substantial with the addition of grilled steak.
¾ cup (6 oz.) fresh lime juice
3 tbsp. fish sauce
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1½ tsp. grated lime zest
1½ tsp. minced lemongrass, optional
3 tbsp. canola oil
1½ lb. papaya, peeled and julienned
1 lb. Napa cabbage, coarsely shredded
9 oz. watercress, stems trimmed
1½ oz. red or green chilies, seeded, fine julienne
1½ lb. beef tenderloin or boneless top sirloin steaks
Salt and pepper
Toasted rice powder or ground roasted peanuts, for garnish
1. Prepare Vinaigrette: Combine lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, lime zest and lemongrass in bowl; whisk to dissolve sugar. Add oil; whisk to blend.
2. Prepare Salad: For each large plate, combine 4 oz. papaya, 2½ oz. cabbage, 1.2 oz. watercress and ¼ oz. chilies in bowl. Just before serving, toss with 1½ oz. dressing.
3. Season steaks with salt and pepper; sear over high flame for rare doneness. Cut steaks into long, thin slices. Portion 4 oz. sliced meat for each large salad.
4. Plate salad; top with steak slices. Garnish with toasted rice powder or ground roasted peanuts.
Recipe by Culinary Visions Panel, Olson Communications, Chicago, Ill.