Cook the Book

Thai Beef Salad From 'Maximum Flavor'

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[Photograph: Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot]

This take on Thai beef salad from Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot's new cookbook, Maximum Flavor, is more than just a recipe for salad. Sure, the final dish makes for a tasty dinner, but the take-aways from the recipe are more widely applicable. First, flipping steaks frequently while they cook is an easy method for fast, even cooking. (This tip is no secret to regular Serious Eats readers.) Second, resting meat in a bed of aromatic herbs is the best way to infuse it with a final hit of fragrance and flavor. Here, Kamozawa and Talbot rest steak in cilantro, but you could also try resting pork chops in thyme or chicken in tarragon.

Why I picked this recipe: I wasn't sure that the herbal rest would affect the steak too much—trying it out with a Thai beef salad seemed like a great idea.

What worked: The technique with the steak was the real winner here: The marinade was wonderfully spicy and salty, the cooking method spot-on, and the bed of cilantro truly added a final layer of complexity.

What didn't: I would have liked a little more green and a little less fruit on the salad; as written, the papaya and grapefruit were a bit overpowering.

Suggested tweaks: If you can't find sirloin cap steak, you could try using sirloin steak. You a cut that's over an inch thick so that you can score it properly and develop a good crust while searing it.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Maximum Flavor to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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