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Food Network Favorites: Grilled Steak & Papaya Salad

It's summertime, and I'm ready to start grilling, so it's on to Bobby Flay's chapter in Food Network Favorites . This is a delicious spicy salad topped with grilled marinated steak. It's a wonderful meal for a summer evening.

No problems with the recipe; Flay's ingredients and instructions all worked fine, but I did make one small change in the way the dish is plated. Flay has the cook put the greens on plates, top them with the papaya and carrot, and then drizzle dressing over the top. I thought it made more sense to toss the greens and the papaya mixture with dressing first -- that way each bite is flavored with the dressing. I've rewritten the instructions so that the salad is served this way.

If you're worried about the spiciness of the Thai chiles, or if you can't find them, serranos can be substituted. You can also seed the chiles before using them if you'd like to tone down the heat.

It's also possible to substitute beef loin steaks (aka filet mignons) for the whole tenderloin called for in the recipe. (This is the same cut of meat. Filet mignons are cut from the whole beef tenderloin.) Reduce cooking time to about 4 minutes per side for medium rare if using individual steaks.

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time
Cook Time: 8 to 12 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Marinade and Tenderloin
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Thai chile, chopped (substitute serrano if desired)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 to 3 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, OR 4 filet mignon steaks, about 6 oz. each

Papaya Salad
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
2 Thai chiles, finely chopped (substitute serrano if desired)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
6 large red romaine leaves, cut into strips
1 bunch watercress
1 large green papaya, peeled and thinly shredded
2 carrots, peeled and thinly shredded
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

For the marinade: Put the garlic, chile, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, and oil in a mini food processor and process until smooth., Place beef in a small baking dish, pour the marinade over it, and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Remove the beef from the marinade and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill the meat until charred and medium-rare (internal temperature of 125 to 130 degrees), about 10 to 12 minutes for a whole tenderloin, or 4 minutes per side for individual steaks. Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest 10 minutes before slicing into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Meanwhile, make the salad: In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, chiles, mint, vinegar, sugar, and fish sauce. (Dressing can also be made in the mini chopper. Pulse all ingredients together until smooth.) Set aside.

In another bowl, toss the lettuce with the watercress and a couple of tablespoons of the dressing. Arrange the leaves on a platter or individual serving plates. Combine the papaya and carrots in the same bowl and gently toss with about 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Arrange the papaya mixture over the lettuce leaves. Drizzle with additional dressing, if desired.

Arrange the steak slices over the top and drizzle with a bit more dressing. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves.



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