It’s All in the Slaw
Let me just say right off that it’s the tangy Asian slaw that really makes these steak sandwiches sing. There’s something hypnotic about the pairing of these vibrant veggies – radishes, carrots and yellow peppers – with warm rice vinegar that just makes you want to take a bite – many bites – of this delicious sandwich. Better yet, it doesn’t take fancy equipment or snazzy technique to create this exotic dinner in your own kitchen. The only unusual ingredients to make sure you have on hand before firing up the grill are fish sauce and rice vinegar. Eating this is like taking your mouth to a street in Southeast Asia for a tasty treat.
Another other reason that I love this dish is because it travels so well. I’m always looking for interesting recipes that hold up to a journey. In fact, it’s one of the reasons that I named this blog “Fork on the Road”. Besides “chefing” at my mobile crepe cart and hitting the road to get new ideas about food, I also enjoy making meals and delivering them to friends. This sandwich makes a perfect gift – a “fork on the road”, if you will – for families with hungry kids. I prepared it last week for a friend whose husband was out of town on business. She was feeling that she had enough to do without making dinner so I brought her a platter of grilled steak and colorful veggies. All that that remained to be done at dinnertime was to hand her kids a plate.
I’ve modified the amount of rice vinegar from the original recipe that I found in “Real Simple” magazine several years back. It just seemed that each time I made the slaw that there was a lot of liquid pooling in the bottom of the slaw bowl. It is quite eye-catching to serve these sandwiches with a platter of thinly sliced cucumbers, tomato wedges and some colorful mixed greens.
But whatever you do, don’t forget to make the slaw.
Vietnamese Steak Sandwich
Serves 4 (this recipe is easily multiplied to serve more people)
2 6 oz pieces of top round steak (or London Broil) about 1 inch thick
2 tsp Thai Style chili sauce
2 ½ Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup rice wine vinegar
6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large baguette
12 sprigs fresh cilantro
8 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
Heat an outdoor grill or your grill pan to medium hot. Meanwhile, in a wide, shallow bowl combine the chili sauce, sugar, fish sauce and minced garlic and whisk to combine to make marinade. Place the steak in the bowl and let it marinate for at least 20 minutes or even overnight, turning several times.
Place the vinegar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Toss the prepared vegetables – the radishes, carrots and yellow pepper – in the hot vinegar and remove from the heat, cover the vegetables and set aside.
Place the steak on the grill and cook to medium (about six minutes per side). Remove from the grill and cut into 1/2 ” slices. Cut the baguette into sandwich size hunks and cut in half to accommodate filling. Spread bread with mayonnaise and fill with steak, slaw and cilantro. Take a big bite and then another and another. Enjoy!