Pairing unlikely combinations is part of why I enjoy cooking, because making dinner hardly ever becomes dull. Here, a Vietnamese marinade tenderizes flank steak, its saltiness tamed by juicy watermelon and cooled by crisp cucumber slices. Serve over greens mixed with mint leaves for a burst of fresh flavor.
Flank Steak with Watermelon-Cucumber Salad Recipe
1/3 cup asian fish sauce
1 T lime zest
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, divided
5 T grapeseed oil, divided
1/2 T red pepper flakes
2 T dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lb flank steak
mixed salad greens
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves washed, dried, and stripped from stems
1 seedless English cucumber, sliced thinly into strips
3 cups diced watermelon
2 T light soy sauce
Combine fish sauce, lime zest and 1/4 cup juice, 3 T oil, pepper flakes, sugar, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to emulsify.
Place flank steak in large ziplock bag. Pour in marinade and close bag, pressing down as you zip it to remove air. Make sure meat is fully coated. Place bag in bowl and marinate for 30 minutes up to 24 hours, placing in refrigerator if longer than one hour.
Remove meat from marinade and pat dry, wiping off marinade residue. Discard marinade.
Over high heat, grill steak for about 4-6 minutes per side for medium rare, or until meat thermometer reads 125° F. Remove meat from grill and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly.
Combine remaining lime juice, grape seed oil, and soy sauce in small bowl. Whisk to combine.
Divide greens and mint leaves among four large, shallow bowls. Top with flank steak slices, cucumber and watermelon. Drizzle dressing over salad.
Stephanie Davis, our wine educator go-to from Winacea, just returned from the Sonoma Valley and was illuminated by her visit to J Vineyards & Winery. It was easy for her to select J’s sparkling rosé to pair with this salad; the pink of the watermelon made her dream about this dry, pink bubbly. Stephanie says it will be a festive and complimentary addition to the ingredients in this summery salad. If you can’t find it in your town, it’s available online for $38/bottle.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, because living brings its own humor, angst and heroism. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @where she hopes you’ll find illumination of the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Vodka and recipes optional.