Korean-Style Steak & a Cilantro Salad


Korean-Style Steak  |  Cilantro Salad

Intro Collage

When I plan our dinner menus I begin, for the most part, with the entrée…usually a protein…adding vegetables, grains, etc. as a complement.  This dinner, however, was put together in reverse order.  Last week I came upon this recipe for Cilantro Salad at 101 Cookbooks and quickly became curious of a salad which features this strongly-flavored herb as the main attraction {no lettuces} and adds only some blanched, fresh asparagus to make up the body of this beautiful green dish.  Not only were Heidi’s photos of the salad enticing, but also her endorsement was compelling…”Unless you absolutely loathe cilantro, you must, must(!) try this salad.”

Cilantro is an herb with a very strong personality.  In her book, Vegetable Literacy, Deborah Madison writes…”Cilantro is big.  It takes over and cover’s everything with its green, grassy notes.”  That personality is what makes me a fan of this leafy herb, often adding it as a seasoning or garnish to dishes.  In Chez Panisse Vegetables, Alice Waters writes…”Added at the last minute, cilantro gives a clean, fresh edge to a dish, especially in combination with fresh ginger and garlic.”  But as the featured star of a salad…well, although intrigued, I had my doubts.

I had no problem selecting the companion entrée…this Korean-Style Steak is an all-time family favorite and it never fails to impress when entertaining.  The Spicy Cilantro Sauce usually drizzled over the steak is addictive and Mallory would, if given the opportunity, enjoy it as a soup.  For last evening’s dinner, I replaced the sauce with the Cilantro Salad served alongside the steak {or was the steak served alongside the Cilantro Salad?}…

Korean-Style Steaks {adapted from Gourmet, June 2001 via Epicurious}

  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup medium-dry Sherry
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 5 boneless beef strip steaks {this evening we used 2 medium cuts of chateaubriand}
  1. Prepare grill for cooking.
  2. Stir together all ingredients in a  13x9x2-inch baking dish until sugar is dissolved, then add steaks, turning to coat.  Marinate steaks, turning once, 1 hour or overnight {covered} in refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before grilling.
  3. When fire is medium-hot {you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3-4 seconds}, grill steaks on a lightly-oiled rack 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Let steaks stand on a cutting board 5 minutes, then cut crosswise into ¾-inch slices.  Serve immediately.

Korean Steak Collage

The Cilantro Salad itself comes together quite easily.  The shallot oil lends such amazing flavor to the simple dressing {and it was fantastic lightly drizzled over scrambled eggs this morning}.  My adaptation {below} features the substitution of  lime salt {which I recently made from a Citrus Salt recipe, also from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks} in place of the called-for sea salt.  The finished salad was nothing short of spectacular!  Refreshingly light with layers of texture {feathery cilantro leaves, firm asparagus, crispy shallots & crunchy peanuts} pulled together by a dressing that was the perfect combination of sweet & salty.  Yes, you really must try this salad…

Cilantro Salad {adapted from Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks}

  • 1 cup grapeseed  oil
  • 1 cup evenly sliced shallots
  • 6 ounces asparagus spears, very thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro with stems
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon lime salt
  • ½ cup peanuts, well-toasted, then cooled
  1. Begin by making the shallot oil {which can be done up to a few days in advance and stored in a glass jar, with a tight-fitting lid, in the refrigerator}. Place the oil in a heavy saucepan, over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, lower the heat to medium, add the shallots to the pan, and cook until they are deeply golden, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, strain the oil into a jar, and set aside. Place the shallots on a paper towel and allow them to cool and crisp.
  2. In the meantime, bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook the asparagus until bright, about 30 seconds. Drain, and quickly transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again, and set aside.
  3. Trim any tough stems from the cilantro and wash. Dry completely using a salad greens spinner.
  4. Whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, lime salt, and two tablespoons of the shallot oil. Place the cilantro, peanuts, asparagus, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. When you are ready to serve, drizzle the soy dressing over, and toss gently. Top with some of the reserved crisped shallots.

Salad ingredients Collage

asparagus Collage


The finished dinner plate…



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One thought on “Korean-Style Steak & a Cilantro Salad

  1. I always intend to follow a full week of recipes, but that never seems to happen. Back from a little get away (!) this salad seemed perfect for me, and the rest could eat a side protein. Fabulous! Did not do the shallot oil exactly as instructed-have been on an avocado oil fest as of late. Very nice. We are doing the Turkey burgers w/sumac tomorrow. Of interest for those from CA, I found the spice at Raley’s…

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