Andy Husbands' Thai Buffalo Salad
½ bunch thin asparagus, woody bottom snapped off at natural breaking point
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
1 10 oz. buffalo rib-eye steak
1 baked russet potato, cooled, unpeeled
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 limes, juiced
¼ cup Wan Ja Shan® fruit vinegar (or substitute apple cider vinegar)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
10 Thai basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Preheat a cleaned grill on high.
2. In a large pot of generously salted boiling water, blanch the asparagus, about 2 minutes. Strain and transfer to an ice water bath to shock. Remove, drain, then drizzle with one tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for about 2 minutes per side and remove to a platter.
3. Meanwhile, in a mortar, combine the Szechuan peppercorns and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Pound with the pestle to crush peppercorns and combine with the salt. Generously season the steak on both sides with the seasoning mix. Cook the buffalo steak until the internal temperature reaches 120°F for rare, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Rest the steak on top of an inverted tablespoon on a plate for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, just before plating.
4. While the steak cooks, slice the baked potato about 1/3-inch thick. Brush the slices with two tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until marked and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes per side and transfer to a holding plate.
5. In a small bowl combine the tomato halves with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve.
6. In another small bowl, make the nuoc cham: Combine the lime juice, fruit vinegar and fish sauce. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste. Reserve.
7. Compose the salad: On a serving plate, shingle the grilled potatoes lengthwise on the platter. Criss-cross the asparagus on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes over the plate and tear the Thai basil leaves over the platter. Arrange the buffalo steak slices over the vegetables. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the nuoc cham over the meat and vegetables. This dish can be served hot, room temperature, or cold.
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