Who enjoys working late? I know I don't, but whenever I do, I reward myself by stopping by Hillstone for their Thai Steak Noodle salad. Hearty, fresh, and a little bit spicy, this salad is the perfect balance of all, so naturally, I tried to recreate. After a couple of sub-par attempts, I finally found the right balance. That picture up there? Feeds 2-3 normal people, or 1 hungry Steph. And I'm okay admitting that. Because look at it!
The first time I tried making this, the steak was mushy and had trouble really getting grilled. That was because I had marinaded it the night before. As I found out (on America's test kitchen, love them!) is that this is a common problem, and that the steak is better marinaded after it is grilled. Is your mind blown? Mine sure was.
I also had the proportions all wrong the first time. Too many noodles, not enough greens, chopped cilantro instead of whole leaves. I had omitted peppers the first time and had avocado and peanuts instead. The whole thing was mushy. I just had it all wrong. ALL DANG WRONG.
But this time, I got it right. I ate the whole thing up, patted myself on the back, and tuned into The Bachelor. Reward yourself. Treat yo'self. These are the only life mantras you should follow.
For the salad:
- 4 oz. (about one small handful) egg noodles
- 2 big handfuls arugula
- 1/2 medium sized red pepper, sliced very thin
- approximately 3/4 cup cooked edamame beans
- avocado (optional, I didn't have this when I made the salad so I omitted it)
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves, picked off from stem
- white and/or black sesame seeds
- 3/4 pound flank steak (this cut works best for slicing, I've found)
- vegetable or canola oil, salt, and pepper
For the dressing:
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp Ponzu sauce
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt, to taste
First, generously salt and pepper your flank steak. Let it rest a bit and get to room temperature, if refrigerated before. Assemble your dressing in a large bowl.
Get your indoor or outdoor grill searing hot, rub with vegetable oil. (Open a window if griling indoors). Though I prefer my steaks rare, we're going to cook this to medium to make it easier to slice and eat in the salad. This will take approximately 3-4 minutes on each side.
After removing the steak from the grill, let it rest on a cutting board with a foil tent for about 10 minutes. This will let the juices redistribute and make for juicy meat. It will also allow you to slice the meat thin and not have lots of meat juice running out into the dressing.
Nice meat huh? Take the sliced pieces and toss them in your dressing. This will sit and absorb the flavors while we assemble the salad.
First, cook your noodles. I apologize for not having a picture of them, but they're yellow-y semi-dehydrated egg noodles that I get from the Chinese grocery store nearby. They're super cheap and the same noodles I use in my Peanut Sesame Noodles. Since I only used a small handful of these noodles, I didn't want to have to boil a pot of water and blanch them, so I put them in a pyrex and microwaved the bowl for 3 minutes and drained them. They should be soft and chewy, but not mushy. Once they are cooked, they can be tossed in the bowl with the dressing and the steak.
To the same bowl, add two handfuls of arugala, the cilantro leaves and red pepper. Toss the whole thing together. Transfer to a serving plate or bowl, taking care not to dump the extra dressing in the serving bowl. We want the salad coated, not soggy.
Lastly add the edamame. I like to add this last because in the dressing bowl, it tends to bunch at the bottom and then whoever's plate is last gets not a lot of steak and lettuce and a big clump of edamame. Sprinkle the black and white sesame seeds over the whole thing and finish with salt to taste.