This spicy, fragrant bowl is heaped with crisp vegetables and char-grilled skirt steak, perched on a bed of rice noodles finished with a piquant Vietnamese dressing and a shower of fresh herbs. Pair with California Chardonnay or Rosé.
1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons (30ml) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon (15ml) finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon (15ml) toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 pounds (750g) skirt steak, cut against the grain in 4 equal pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons (30ml) sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon (15ml) fish sauce
1 tablespoon (15ml) soy sauce
1 teaspoon (5ml) sesame oil
8 ounces (250g) rice vermicelli noodles
1 head butter lettuce, leaves washed
2 scallions, white and green parts sliced on the diagonal
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 English cucumber, seeded, cut into matchsticks
1 cup (240ml) bean sprouts
1/4 cup (60ml) chopped roasted salted peanuts
1 red jalapeño pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1 cup (240ml) assorted fresh herbs (mint, cilantro, Thai basil)
Whisk the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place the skirt steak in a baking dish, pour the marinade over and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight, turning once or twice. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
Prepare the vermicelli rice noodles according to package instructions.
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (about 450°F/230°C). Remove the steaks from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the steaks over high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes for medium-rare, turning once. Remove from the grill and let rest while you assemble the salad.
Line 4 serving bowls with large lettuce leaves (reserve the smaller leaves for another use). Divide the noodles between the bowls. Arrange the scallions, carrots, cucumber, and sprouts over the noodles, leaving a section clear for the meat. Drizzle the dressing over the salads.
Cut the meat across the grain into 1/4-inch (0.6cm) slices. Arrange the steak in the clear sections of the salads and drizzle any collected juices over the meat. Scatter the peanuts and jalapeño slices over the salads and generously garnish with the fresh herbs. Serve immediately.