Flank Steak & Watermelon Salad

Rhubarb & Cod - Flank Steak and Watermelon Salad Recipe

watermelon1Watermelon is one of those things that completely belongs to summer. I can’t even entertain the idea of eating watermelon in the fall or winter – it’s just too depressing. Watermelon is meant for balmy summer evenings and post-pool snacks. You’re suppose chow down on a slice while sitting on your almost too hot deck because your mom says it’s too messy for inside. And you’re supposed to eat watermelon with seeds, so you can challenge your friends and siblings to a spitting contest… mom may have had a point.

I really believed that all of this was true, but I was wrong.

Rhubarb & Cod - Flank Steak & Watermelon Salad Recipe - Vietnamese Dressing

It wasn’t until I was embarking on my 20s that I discovered watermelon can be so much more than a snack unto itself. It is simply spectacular when it plays a supporting role to more savoury elements. The first time I had watermelon on my dinner plate it was paired with black olives and feta cheese. I could not believe how much sweeter it tasted and how refreshing it was between bites of briney olives .. The second time I encountered it I was at a smokehouse. The server placed a jar of pickled watermelon on the table and I was instantly enthralled.

Rhubarb & Cod - Flank Steak & Watermelon Salad Recipe - Bean sprouts, cucumber slices, watermelon and red chilis

Since these revolutionary melon-related moments, I have begun to explore the many applications of the watermelon in my own kitchen. I will share my most successful experiment with you today.

This Flank Steak and Watermelon Salad represents a trifecta of  perfect summer dinning. As I mentioned before, watermelon belongs to summer – it just does – but so does BBQ and IMHO Vietnamese food. Vietnamese food proves that when it’s hot out, it’s best to up your chili intake, and the cuisine’s preoccupation with the always cooling cucumber just solidifies it’s position as the perfect hot weather food.

Rhubarb & Cod - Flank Steak & Watermelon Salad Recipe - Dressed salad.

To combine these summery elements into a cohesive salad, I marinaded a flank steak in a fish-sauce-heavy marinade and made sure the salad’s finishing dressing echoed a similar flavour profile. I, of course, grilled the steak for that unmistakable charcoal-kissed flavour and I piled on a number of refreshing and indicative ingredients of Vietnamese cuisine, such as cucumber, bean sprouts and mint. I was delighted to find that the watermelon got along famously with these elements and I’m even more delighted to share it with you now.

Rhubarb & Cod - Flank Steak and Watermelon Salad Recipe

So without further ado, I give you the most summery summer salad that ever summered: My Flank Steak and Watermelon Salad.



Flank Steak & Watermelon Salad

Serving Size: 4


    For the Salad
  • 1 flank steak, marinaded (see below)
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 small watermelon, cut into 2-3 inch triangles
  • 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 red pencil hot peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon basil, chiffonade
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, finely chopped
  • Steak Marinade
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, smashed
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
  • Dressing
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger, grated


  1. Place flank steak in a large ziplock bag.
  2. Add lemongrass, 4 smashed cloves of garlic and 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger to the bag.
  3. In a small bowl combine remaining marinade ingredients and pour mixture over the steak.
  4. Seal the bag and toss to coat the steak. Squeeze excess air from the bag and reseal it.
  5. Place steak in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  6. When ready, remove steak from the bag and place it on a hot, well-oiled grilled.
  7. Cook steak for roughly 10 minutes a side or until cooked to desired doneness.
  8. Remove the steak from the heat and tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing.
  9. While the steak is resting, combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside until ready to use.
  10. When the steak is rested and sliced, arrange watermelon slices on a large platter.
  11. Layer cucumber slices on top of the watermelon, and place steak slices on top of the cucumber.
  12. Top the steak layer with bean sprouts followed by pencil hot peppers, herbs and peanuts.
  13. Pour dressing over the salad and serve immediately.
  14. If desired, serve with broad rice noodles and a slice of lime.
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