18 July 2011

Mmm...Canada: Vietnamese-inspired steak salad

I know I get on a bit of a soap box when I talk about Canadian cooking. The fact is it's a cuisine so heavily influenced by all the cultures who come here, that it's hard not to like it.

Yes, I know...many people would argue that there is no Canadian cuisine, save the usual: maple syrup, beer, poutine, smoked salmon and butter tarts. But I think a lot of Canadian cuisine is about how people come here and adapt their home cooking to what's readily available...making a far-off place not so far away.

The other week I found some gorgeous Grey County, grass fed and barley finished flank steaks at my favourite butcher. I bought a piece, marinated it and grilled it. My word it was buttery-lovely.

This weekend I went back for more and came back with a bavette steak. Bavette, his assistant told me, is just behind the flank, and is much more tender, which means it needs less marinating time. When figuring out what to do with it, I thought of this year's Canadiana series and realised I could probably pull together a great example of what I think of as new Canadian cuisine.

One of my favourite Vietnamese dishes is beef salad. A southeast Asian flavoured grilled steak, thinly sliced and served with crisp, cooling veggies.

My rendition marinated, grilled and thinly sliced that lovely bavette and served over equally lovely locally-in season veggies: crisp and spicy radishes, sweet carrots, sweet-tender lettuce and sliced spring onions and finely minced garlic scapes. The recipe I provide gives you more veggies than this, but add whatever you have on hand.

Is it "authentic" as only those food snobs who've scaled unheard of mountains and waded through far off streams to get real food as only prepared by a singular cook in a singular subset of a singular culture? Far from it. But does it evoke a far off place, made not so far by what my country market has to offer.

Vietmamese-inspired flank steak
serves two

350g (12.5oz) flank steak or bavette steak
2Tbsp (30ml) olive oil
1.5Tbsp (22ml) runny honey
1Tbsp (15ml) nam pla (fish sauce)
1Tbsp (15ml) soy sauce
1tsp (5ml) sriracha, chilli garlic or hot sauce (to taste)
0.5tsp (2ml) garlic powder
0.5tsp (2ml) onion powder
0.25tsp (1ml) black pepper
0.5tsp (2ml) dried basil

Mix all ingredients together and marinate six to 12 hours.

Grill the steak to your pleasing. Let rest 15 minutes or so and then thinly slice

Vietnamese-inspired Dressing
juice of one lime
1.5Tbsp (22ml) runny honey
2Tbsp (30ml) fish sauce)
2Tbsp (30ml) olive oil
1tsp sriracha, chilli garlic or hot sauce, or 1 minced fresh chilli

shredded lettuce
thinly sliced spring onions
radishes, cut into thin matchsticks
carrots cut into thin matchsticks
thinly sliced cucumber
thinly sliced mushrooms
finely minced garlic or scapes (or chives)
Thinly sliced red or yellow bell peppers

I'm a quill for hire!


stampedconcrete said...

wow .. looks so delicious .. i want to try that one .. thanks for sharing .. yummy!!

Mary | Work in a Restaurant said...

Thanks for sharing some recipe.I will try this at home :)

Getting a Restaurant Job said...

Canadian cuisine may appear like it is a combination of different food traditions but thee is no doubt that it can easily satisfy one's appetite. Steak salad seems appetizing and I admire your prowess in making the most of whatever i available!