Steak “Dak Dak”

Adapted from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Staci Valentine. Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  35 minutes Marinating and Infusing Time:  2 hours 15 minutes Cook Time:  5 minutes

Steak “Dak Dak”

The term dak dak is onomatopoeic slang for “chopped,” and this is a meat-and-herb chopped salad, good in a pita or plated, where every bite is a mix of textures and flavors. The recipe is inspired by the version I ate at Ha Miznon in Tel Aviv, where chef Eyal Shani has elevated the pita sandwich to a fine art (there’s also a branch in Paris). Thin slices of steak seared quickly on a grill or a plancha (griddle) yield a high ratio of crisped crust to meat. Depending on my mood, I season the meat before grilling simply, with salt, or with baharat, the aromatic Arab spice blend of black and red peppers, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Accompany the salad with an array of self-serve condiments—chile oil, grated tomato, pickled cabbage, sel gris, and tahini sauce—and pita pockets.

Pickled or fermented cabbage is another common sour accent in Middle Eastern foods, especially in salads and sandwiches. I prefer the more delicate result of quick “vinegaring.”

Tahini refers to both the sesame paste and the sauce created when the paste is seasoned with garlic and thinned with lemon juice and water. It is as ubiquitous in the Middle East as ketchup or mayo in the United States and chimichurri in Argentina. Use tahini sauce whenever you need a nutty, creamy accent to Mediterranean food.--Amelia Saltzman

Ingredients

For the Chile Oil:

¼ cup (40 grams) minced hot green chile, such as jalapeño (about 2 large chiles), in ⅛-inch (3-millimeter) pieces, including the seeds for added heat, if desired

¼ cup (60 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil

 

For the Grated Tomato:

½ pound (225 grams) ripe tomatoes (about 1 large)

Kosher salt

 

For the Vinegared Cabbage:

5- to 6-ounce (140- to 170-gram) wedge green or Savoy cabbage, cut crosswise into narrow ribbons

2 tablespoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons water

½ teaspoon salt

 

For the Tahini Sauce:

⅓ cup (80 grams) raw tahini

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 to 2 cloves garlic

¼ cup (60 milliliters) water, plus more as needed

 

For the Steak Dak Dak:

2 medium-size Persian cucumbers, (about ½ pound/225 grams total), halved and seeded

1 medium-size kosher pickle

1 small kohlrabi, (about 3 ounces/85 grams), peeled

3 or 4 medium-size red radishes

¼ small red onion

½ cup (15 grams) lightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves

½ cup (15 grams) lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves

¼ cup (3 grams) dill sprigs                                                            

6 to 8 pita breads

1½ pounds (680 grams) boneless beef steak, such as sirloin or rib, thinly sliced (¼ to ½ inch/6 to 12 millimeters thick)

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 to 2 teaspoons Baharat (see Notes from the Test Kitchen)

Kosher or sea salt

Sel gris

Instructions

  1. To make the chile oil: Stir together the chile and olive oil. Let stand for a couple of hours to infuse the oil. The oil will keep, tightly covered and refrigerated up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.
  2. To make the grated tomato: Cut the tomato in half crosswise. Use a finger to scoop out and discard the seeds. Grate the cut side of each tomato half on the large holes of a box grater until you reach the skin. Discard the skin. You should have about ½ cup (90 grams). Season with salt.
  3. To make the vinegared cabbage, bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add the cabbage and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain well and place in a bowl; you should have about 1 cup (150 grams). Stir in the vinegar, water, and salt. Let stand for at least 15 minutes before using. (This recipe can be doubled or tripled and will keep in the refrigerator for about one week.)
  4. To make the tahini sauce, stir together the tahini and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Crush the garlic through a press into the tahini mixture. Whisk in the water. The mixture will stiffen. Gradually whisk in more water until the sauce is creamy. The consistency is a matter of preference: anywhere from heavy to softly whipped cream. Add more lemon juice as desired (makes ¾ to 1 cup).
  5. To prepare the salad, cut the cucumbers, pickle, kohlrabi, radishes, and onion into fine julienne and place in a bowl. (This step can be done early in the day and the vegetables covered and refrigerated individually.) Coarsely chop the parsley, cilantro, and dill and add to the bowl. Set aside.
  6. Cut one-third off of the edge of each pita. Open pita pockets and line with pita wedges to reinforce the bottom.
  7. To make the steak dak dak, brush the beef slices on both sides with olive oil; then season on both sides with the baharat and kosher salt. Grill, griddle, or pan-fry the meat over high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 1 minute on each side.
  8. Transfer the beef slices to a cutting board and cut into narrow strips. Add the beef to the vegetables and herbs, toss well, and return to the cutting board. Preferably using a cleaver, chop the mixture into small pieces. Return it to the bowl, add a little olive oil and sel gris, and toss well. Serve with the pita and condiments.

Kitchen Tips

Notes from the Test Kitchen:

Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice blend  that typically contains salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds and cardamom. It can be found in spice shops and gourmet delicatessens, but it’s easy to make at home. Try The Weiser Kitchen’s recipe for Baharat.

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