Thinly sliced grilled steak enclosed in soft lettuce leaves with crunchy peanuts and radishes, zesty mint and cilantro, cucumbers, scallions, and rice noodles is a dream dinner for a warm night.
Set out a platter with all the ingredients, and let everyone build his or her own wrap. Pass the spicy dipping sauce, which you cleverly made in advance to marinate the steak.
WHAT IS THE BEST LETTUCE FOR WRAPS?
Choose soft lettuce leaves from a head of red or green leaf lettuce or butterhead lettuce such as Boston or Bibb lettuce.
Break larger leaves into hand-size pieces, or use smaller whole leaves for your wrap. You are looking for leaves that are flexible and can be held in your hand, folded or rolled.
THE BEST STEAK FOR LETTUCE WRAPS
We’re using flank steak in this recipe, but you could also use skirt, flatiron, or hanger steak. Because flank steak is lean, it has the potential to be tough, so be sure to cut it across the grain into very thin slices.
STEAK WRAP TIME SAVER
You get a two-fer on this one! The steak marinade can also double as the dipping sauce.
- Make the marinade.
- Use about 1/3 cup of the marinade to flavor the steak.
- Set the remaining marinade aside to use later as a dipping sauce for the wraps.
The marinade bursting with salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. Taste the reserved dipping sauce, and if it’s too strong for you to use as a dip, feel free to dilute it with one to two tablespoons water.
HOW TO GRILL STEAK FOR LETTUCE WRAPS
For a grill heated to 450ºF or a hot charcoal grill, an average flank steak will take from three to five minutes on each side for medium rare. This said:
- Grilling time will vary depending on the thickness of the steak and the heat of your particular grill.
- Flank steak tends to be thicker at one end and thinner at another, which could result in one end being rare while the other is medium rare. Sometimes, that works well to accommodate the different tastes in a single family.
- If you would prefer to cook the whole steak the same degree of doneness, it’s best to set up a warm and hot side of the grill. Place the thickest part of the steak over the hot side and the thinner part over the warm side.
For best results, use an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the steak:
- Rare: 125ºF
- Medium Rare: 135ºF
- Medium: 145ºF
MORE GREAT LETTUCE WRAP RECIPES!
Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps Recipe
For the marinade/dipping sauce:
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha or other hot sauce (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger root
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
For the wraps:
- 6 ounces rice noodles (any kind)
- Leaves from 1 head Boston or red leaf lettuce
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
- Handful of fresh mint leaves
1 Make the marinade/dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, fish sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and scallions. You will use some of it for the marinade and some for the dipping sauce.
2 Marinate the steak: Place the steak in a shallow dish. Pour 1/3 cup of the marinade over the steak and set the remaining marinade aside to use later as the dipping sauce.
Turn the steak to coat it in the marinade. Let the steak marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning the steak once or twice, or cover it and let the steak marinate for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
If you refrigerate the meat, let it come to room temperature before grilling.
3 Cook the rice noodles: Follow the cooking directions on the package of noodles. (Individual manufacturers’ instructions vary.) Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse under cold running water, tossing with your hands, to remove the excess starch and prevent the noodles from sticking together.
4 Grill the steak: Light a charcoal grill or turn a gas grill to high (about 450ºF). Grill the steak for 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare (135ºF). The exact timing will depend upon the heat of the individual grill and the thickness of your steak.
For best results, use an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the steak: 125ºF for rare, 135ºF for medium rare, 145ºF for medium.
5 Rest and slice the steak: Transfer the steak to a cutting board, cover with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice it across the grain.
6 Arrange the ingredients on a platter: Tear the lettuce leaves into large pieces, removing the stiff stem ends.
Arrange the lettuce leaves, scallions, radish, cucumbers, peanuts, mint, and cilantro on a large platter around the sliced steak, rice noodles, and dipping sauce. This allows each person to build his or her own wrap.
7 To make one wrap: Set a lettuce leaf on a plate. Place some rice noodles and steak slices over the leaf, and top with scallions, cilantro, mint, radishes, cucumbers, and peanuts. Roll or fold and serve with dipping sauce.
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