Baby Kale and Steak Salad
© Jody Horton

Baby Kale and Steak Salad


Since his fiancée Deana Saukam's father has diabetes, Top Chef Season 9 winner Paul Qui came up with this sugarless version of nuoc cham, the classic Vietnamese dipping sauce. Coconut water replaces the sugar; shallot, garlic and jalapeño add bold flavor.

nuoc cham dressing

  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, preferably Red Boat
  2. 1/4 cup coconut water
  3. 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut vinegar or cider vinegar
  5. 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  6. 1 garlic clove, sliced
  7. 1/2 jalapeño, minced with seeds


  1. One 12-ounce, trimmed, boneless rib eye steak, cut 1 inch thick
  2. 1 teaspoon canola oil
  3. Salt
  4. Freshly ground pepper
  5. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  6. 1 garlic clove
  7. 1 thyme sprig
  8. 1 tablespoon Maggi liquid seasoning (a vegetable-based seasoning sauce)
  9. 5 ounces baby kale
  10. 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  11. 1 small Japanese cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  12. 1 tomato, cut into wedges
  1. make the nuoc cham dressing Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. meanwhile, make the salad Rub the steak all over with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a small cast-iron skillet until very hot. Add the steak and cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes, until browned and crusty. Add the butter, garlic and thyme to the skillet and spoon the melted butter over the steak. Flip the steak and cook for 2 minutes longer, spooning the butter on top. Add the Maggi seasoning, cover and let stand off the heat for 2 minutes. Transfer the steak to a paper towel–lined work surface, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Thinly slice the steak and place in a large serving bowl. Add the baby kale, sliced onion, cucumber, tomato and nuoc cham dressing, toss the salad well and serve.
Make Ahead

The nuoc cham dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Suggested Pairing

Toasty, full-bodied Champagne.