After I found the local vendors at the St. Paul Farmer's Market selling Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria odorata) and figured out what it was, I had to make a dish with it.
After a day or two of playing around with the herb, the first way I served it was the simplest I could think of: sprinkled on top of some grilled meat, with a few vegetables from the garden. It was excellent: a great introduction to my new herby friend.
The recipe is a good example of a few things: 1. it illustrates a good way to enjoy the herb the first time. 2: mild tasting lobster mushrooms are great thrown in with garden produce as a vegetable when you have a bunch of them and don't know what to do.
It looks like a simple plate of meat and vegetables, but making something simple well can involve more than you think, especially with the vegetables as all of them have different cooking times.
The Limousin beef (a French heirloom) is a shout out to my friend Andy Peterson over at Peterson Craftsman meats, pretty much the standard for good beef in the Twin Cities. If you don't want to shell out for their beef at a restaurant, they have a shop were they sell wholesale in St. Paul across the street from the farmer's market in Lowertown.
Limousin Flank Steak with Vietnamese Coriander and Lobster Mushroom Hash
- 1.5 lbs flank steak
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lb lobster mushrooms cleaned, trimmed, and cut into ½ ounce pieces (about the size of a quarter)
- 1 cup fresh sweet corn cut from the cobb
- A small handful of cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup finely diced shallot
- 1 clove of garlic crushed with the back of a knife
- 1 lb fresh zucchini as young as possible
- ⅓ cup pork or chicken lard bacon fat or cooking oil
- ¼ cup fresh sliced chives
- 20 leaves of Vietnamese coriander
- Season the flank steak with salt and pepper and allow it to sit uncovered in the fridge, preferably overnight (optional). Heat a grill, preferably with wood, until coals form. Grill the steak medium rare, then allow to rest in a warm place while you quickly cook the hash.
- Heat the oil in a large 10inch or larger skillet. Brown the lobster mushrooms until golden for about 5 minutes on medium high, then add the zucchini and garlic clove.
- Season the mixture to taste with salt, and cook for 2-3 minutes. When the zucchini is just tender and lightly browned, discard the garlic, add the tomatoes and corn and cook for 1 minute more, then turn off the heat. Double check the seasoning for salt and adjust as needed, then toss in the chives at the least minute and serve.
- Meanwhile, quickly reheat the steak by flashing it on the grill for a moment or in a warm oven, then slice into long, roughly 5 ounce slices against the grain. Divide the sliced steaks between each of 4 preheated dinner plates, garnish with the lobster mushroom hash, sprinkle on a few of the Vietnamese corainder leaves and serve immediately.