Thai Beef Salad

88 Comments

Recently, I came across a Christopher Kimball recipe that caught my attention. It’s a Thai-inspired salad with skirt steak. Nothing terribly unique, except that when I make salads, they tend to be of the Southwestern ilk, with greens, beans, vegetables, and goat cheese.

Kimball’s Recipe has grilled steak, vegetables, shallots, cilantro,and a flavorful fish sauce-based dressing. Fabulous flavors.

The only thing I did differently was to sous vide the skirt steak. I know how to cook just about any steak in my sleep, but if you’ve ever enjoyed skirt steak, flank steak, flatiron or hanger steak cooked sous vide, you know why there was no hesitation on my part.

If you’re not familiar with Christopher Kimball, I’m actually surprised (especially if you live in the U.S.) He has authored many cookbooks, but was also the editor of the wonderful Cook’s Illustrated magazine. He has a show on PBS, and also talks cooking on an NPR show.

What I like about this man is his somewhat old-fashioned demeanor, his bow tie, his aw-shucks attitude but in Vermont style. He’s the opposite of loud, abrasive, show-offy, and arrogant.

My favorite book of his isn’t a cookbook, it’s called Dear Charlie, a collection of letters he wrote to his son, that appeared in the introduction of every publication of Cook’s Illustrated.


I loved these down-home letters about sunrises, apple pies, tractors, and so forth that my endorsement was printed on the book cover.

His latest cookbook is Milk Street, shown below, and a classic photo of Mr. Bowtie as well.

And now to his Thai Beef Salad.

Thai Beef Salad

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 large shallot, sliced
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
Rice or cellophane noodles, optional

Dry off the skirt steak if necessary with paper towels. Mix the salt, black pepper and brown sugar together, and rub onto the steak on both sides.


Vacuum seal the steak, and cook at 131 degrees F for 12 hours. This can be done the previous day. Refrigerate the steak immediately.

Just when you’re ready to start preparing the salad, remove the steak from the plastic and dry off; set aside.

Combine the shallots and lime juice in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the fish sauce and cayenne flakes to the shallot mixture.

Heat a skillet over high heat with the canola oil, and sear the steak quickly on both sides. Transfer to a cutting board. Thinly slice the stead against the grain, and add the slices and accumulated juices to the large bowl.


Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and mint. Toss to combine.

I wanted to add some noodles for fun, but it wasn’t part of Mr. Kimball’s recipe.

Transfer everything to a platter, and garnish with more cilantro.

This salad is fabulous. Refreshing, spicy, and full of flavor.

I did add a second shallot, more fish sauce, and a little rice wine vinegar.

I can’t stop thinking about how good this salad would be with grilled octopus or shrimp….

88 thoughts on “Thai Beef Salad

  1. Christopher Kimball and his teachings of cooking have long been an inspiration to me. Your take on his Thai Beef Salad is one wonderful looking meal. Are those Cilantro blossoms you garnished with?

    • Me, too! Healthy, too. Otherwise I’d include cheese in a salad, which is why I love Asian food. Always trying to cut back on cheese!!!

  2. This salad looks wonderful, Mimi – and I really do feel Kimball gets it right now and again. This is one of those times! This is a bit different from one that I make – and I look forward to trying yours. (Alas, I have no sous vide abilities, so will cook the old fashioned way!)

    • A sous vide machine is magical. I bought a demi, which is perfect for 2-4, and costs less. I would never cook tenderloins in it, but for flank steak, brisket, skirt steak, hanger steak, chicken breasts, and pork loin, it’s truly magical. But this salad is wonderful. Have you posted on yours?

  3. We adore Thai flavours so this recipe would be perfect for JT and I. I am not a huge fan of sous vide, it’s the plastic bag that I am a little hesitant with but I’m sure you could just grill the steak (I had wanted to try the reverse searing method too!).

    • Of course. I personally prefer flank steak also, over skirt, but they all have their own personalities!

  4. Oh my goodness, great minds think alike. I am currently working on a post for grilled Thai steak salad. Mine is a little different from this. I would love to try this recipe. Love Kimball’s take on things!

    • He is just a great guy all around! I doubt any of the #metoo folks will be suing him… Can’t wait to see your recipe – all Thai-inspired salads are so wonderful and fresh!

  5. Don’t think I’ve ever seen cilantro and mint combined before. The sous vide skirt steak is great. We just had blade steak the other day. So cool that your endorsement ended up on the book!

    • Thanks Stefan. It’s a sweet book that would make a great gift. I’m not Thai cuisine expert by any means, but isn’t it common for cilantro, mint and basil are used as toppings? Or is that in Vietnamese cuisine? I’ll have to see what blade steak is – I don’t know that name.

  6. I happen to have a “ton” of these noodles right now. I had a plan to use them and then didn’t! I think you’ve inspired me with this recipe. I subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated, but have never purchased any of Kimball’s books. I think I’d like to investigate. :-)

    • I know Kimball retired from cook’s illustrated but didn’t realize it was still being published! S thank you for that!

    • You must be 7-8 hours ahead of my time! That was fast! I hope you enjoyed it. I think any beef medium-rare at least would be good in this salad!

      • Here in Germany, I guess we’re about 7 hours from Oklahoma time (or would that be Tulsa time :-) ). And you’re right. It was perfect the way it was, although it made me wish for skirt- or flanksteak, which are both favorites of mine.

      • Your salad looked beautiful! Beef is good as long as it’s cooked properly, to me.

  7. i do love the freshness of a thai dish- all the herbs make it pop in your mouth. i’ve never cooked a steak in my life:) cheers sherry

    • I agree – cilantro is something I wish I could hang under my nose all day just to smell it! A weird concept, but I really mean it! Maybe I should invent something…

  8. I haven’t heard of Chrisopher Kimball, Mimi no, but certainly this is a tasty looking recipe. I love how your endorsement is printed on his book’s cover. I can get all of the ingredients for this recipe. Well nearly. I had a hunt about online for cayenne pepper flakes. I couldn’t find them. I’m thinking that what we maybe call that here is chilli falkes. Or maybe that is different?

    • That’s the same thing. And in India, also, I see chilli flakes or chili flakes. In the US, chili is an actual dish, not a spice. So various hot chilis are called chile peppers. I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of Kimball – he’s not very global.

  9. Chef Mimi, this salad makes my mouth water! I love Christopher Kimball, too! But this salad, and its pretty simple preparation has me wanting to go buy a skirt steak! Beautiful and perfect for a summer evening! Thanks for the recipe!

    • I went ahead and used a skirt steak, but I personally prefer flank steak. But the salad was wonderful!

  10. This salad looks so flavorful Mimi, I don’t cook with beef nearly enough! And now I must read Kimball’s book, thanks for sharing about it :)

  11. Looks Delish! I enjoy watching Christopher Kimball, he reminds me of Fred Rogers but for cooking.

  12. Mimi, lots of flavor and color with this recipe- betcha it tastes great, too! I’ve never heard of Christopher Kimball before (been out of the country too long, I guess), but I sure could use some of that ‘aw shucks’ attitude!

    • I know what you mean. Someone compared him to Mister Rogers! But very knowledgeable. it is a great recipe.

  13. Love steak in salads! We do one with arugula and a rosemary vinaigrette that’s more meat with a green garnish, I guess if I’m being honest, but close enough. Anyway, this looks excellent — thanks.

    • Hahahaha! I really like lettuce! But yes, steak in salads is wonderful, especially with goat cheese…

  14. Beautiful salad. I’ve only tried Sousa vide twice. I know they’ve come out with that stick that you place in the water. The name escapes me but have heard great things about it. Do you Sousa vide often? This looks wonderful. Kimball always has great tried and true recipes.

    • Thank you for your comment! I sous vide even more than I thought I would, especially with inferior cuts such as brisket, flank steak, hanger steak, skirt steak, flat iron steak, pork loin, venison loin, and even chicken breasts. I don’t use it on tenderloins, because they’re already perfect!

  15. Love the Thai inspired flavors in this salad. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    Velva-Tomatoes on the Vine

  16. How cool that your comment was published on that book cover, Mimi! I’ll have to check that one out sometime…it sounds like something I would really like. As far as this steak salad, now that’s something I KNOW I would like! I recently got into sous vide, and I’m hooked! I haven’t tried sous vide on a skirt steak yet, but I think this salad might have to happen. It sounds delicious!

    • I begged for a sous vide as a Christmas present for years – my husband wasn’t sure i’d Actually use it. But I use it a lot. I use it mostly on cuts like skirt steak, flat iron steak, hanger steak, flank steak, and brisket. Also pork loin, venison loin, and chicken breasts. What about you?

  17. This looks amazing! The delicious beef and all the fresh ingredients on top look so flavourful! I have no idea how to use a sous vide (nor own one) so I will have to make this the regular way.

    • Any cut of meat cooked properly, which is one of my pet peeves, is good whether there’s a sous vide involved or not! So no problem with however you cook the cut of beef!

  18. This is so cool that your endorsement is on the book! I haven’t read it and have been meaning to order it. The salad looks wonderful! You’ve got the good fish sauce there, too! Maybe someday I’ll get the sous vide. Believe it or not the newer Instant Pots have a sous vide function! I’d probably really be obnoxious about my IP if I had one of those, lol!

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