Friday, February 18, 2011

Asian-Style Beef Barbecue in Lettuce Packages

This was a good healthy weeknight meal for an absent-minded girl who was craving some Asian food. I say absent-minded because after I was done eating my first lettuce wrap, I said something that went like this: "Man, this is pretty tasty for something that only has veggies and meat....oh wait...." as I then remembered the rice I made that was still sitting on the stove. But really, why does the recipe tell me to make the rice first? Do they not know that I will then proceed to forget it?! And this was before I opened the bottle of wine which was a Three Sisters Vidal Blanc. Yes, that's the Georgia one that I was talking about and it was great as usual!

Asian-Style Beef Barbecue in Lettuce Packages as seen in Fine Cooking magazine
Serves four.

  3/4 cup long-grain white rice (I used brown rice)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
2 medium hearts of romaine or 1 large head red or green leaf lettuce, separated into leaves
1 cup small cilantro sprigs
1 cup small mint leaves (or larger leaves torn into small pieces)
6 medium radishes, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, including tender green parts
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 lb. flank steak, 1 inch thick
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. sesame seeds

Bring 1-1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the rice and salt, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until the rice is tender and the water absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, arrange the lettuce leaves in a bowl and set the cilantro, mint, radishes, and scallions in separate piles on a plate.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the hoisin with 2 Tbs. water; reserve for assembly.

Position an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler to high. Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil and replace the perforated top part of the pan. Season the steak with a large pinch of salt and the pepper. Broil the steak until it loses its raw appearance on top and begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Brush the steak with about 2 Tbs. of  the remaining hoisin, and broil until lightly browned, 2 minutes longer. Turn the steak over with tongs and broil until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Brush generously with the remaining hoisin, and broil 2 to 3 minutes longer for medium rare (130°F on an instant-read thermometer), or to desired doneness (don’t let the hoisin burn; if necessary, move the pan to a lower rack).

Transfer the steak to a cutting board, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and let rest for 5 minutes.
 Cut into thin slices across the grain at a slight angle. Arrange the steak and rice in separate bowls.

Let diners assemble their own packages, filling the lettuce leaves with the rice, steak, cilantro, mint, radishes, scallions, and a drizzle of the diluted hoisin.

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