This one definitely is the pure expression of Staycation-on-a-plate. Fusion food being the ultimate trend for the past 15 years, it goes without saying that the various influences of my travels push me every now and then onto mixing cultures in the kitchen and combining ingredients from different parts of the world for the sake of culinary creation. But that’s not all. Today, we are in March 2020, and we must spend the weekend confined in our homes because the CoVid-19 is out there and the sanitary crisis in Europe is soon going to reach its epidemic peak. I am in Nice, the weather is stunning like always, but there will be no trip out of the house today for me. In honor to my city, I baked some Socca, our local traditional dish that I wrote about a few blog posts back. But also in respect to Asia where many of my friends have been confined for some time already, I’ve made an Asian-style beef salad. This way, we are a bit together in this mess.
This idea of recipe is widely inspired from the restaurant L’Atelier in downtown Nice. It is one of the places I like to go to sometimes for lunch when I’m at work and need to meet someone in a quiet yet interesting place. All dishes are far from being dull, and although the menu offers some classics, the Socca menu is one that I have never, ever, seen anywhere else before. The word Fusion absolutely makes sense here. The Chef combines socca (a chickpea flour sort of thick crêpe typical from Nice), topped with a dish of its choice from other places or themes, whether Italian (salad, parmesan and cold cuts), or Chinese (sticky soy beef and sesame), or Seafood, or Asia-Pacific islands style (ginger raw tuna with citrus), etc. Each dish comes with its own dressing and a touch of Niçois pistou (our local pesto sauce).
Although the dish I have cooked may look as simple as beef and a salad on top of socca, it actually implies many different stages and preparations (including the salad dressing from the picture above), and all in all it does take quite some time to make then assemble. But it is worth the effort and, well, I will make this delicious dish over and over again because I loved eating it. My husband even said it reconciled him with socca, that he usually does not fancy that much. As he said, the texture of my (successfully baked and grilled) socca adds up to the overall dish and takes it to the next level.
What I find delicious in this receipe is the crispiness of the socca edges, combined to the chewy tender beef, and the citrus addition to kick it all, with small wedges of orange and tiny slices of lemongrass in the dressing. Sesame seeds bring a nutty flavor, while coriander and soy sauce fly us straight to Asia for our special vacation-on-a-plate.
This dish is generous yet healthy, and it’s perfect for marking the first day of Spring. Fresh lettuce, fresh fruit, fresh aromatics, fresh meat, what else. Oh yeah, freshly grilled Socca. Its international feel can take us to France, Thailand, Vietnam, or anywhere crazy where different styles dare to meet in the kitchen. People of the world, please enjoy and indulge in my Asian-Style Beef with Citrus over Socca, Lemongrass and Coriander vinaigrette salad dressing.
- FOR THE SALAD DRESSING: 1 stalk of lemongrass, 1 tbsp of coriander leaves, 1tbsp of white sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp of fish sauce, 1 tbsp of rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp of soy sauce, a pinch of salt, 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of ground coriander
- FOR THE BEEF: 4 cloves of garlic, 300 grams of sliced beef, clear soy sauce and a dash of dark soy sauce, black sesame seeds
- FOR THE SALAD: Chopped lettuce and 2 grated carrots. 1 orange (skin off, wedges nicely cleaned and cut)
- FOR THE SOCCA: 125 grams of chickpea flour, 25 cl of cold water, 1/2 tsp of salt, 2 tbsp of olive oil + olive oil for the oven
- Combine all ingredients of the salad dressing in a small bowl, and let infuse the aromatics while preparing the rest of the recipe.
- Cook the slices of beef in a hot pan with olive oil for about 2-3 minutes, add the garlic after one minute. Stop the heat and leave everything in the pan while preparing the rest of the recipe.
- Chop the lettuce and grate the carrots, combine in a large salad bowl.
- Prepare the socca (my recipe here) using in a pan the size of the socca size you want to achieve, instead of baking it directly over the oven baking tray. You will have to do it one at a time though, and preheat the pan in the oven with 2 tbsp of olive oil before pouring the socca preparation.
- Combine the beef and the salad together.
- Assemble the dish: first transfer the round socca onto your plate, top with the salad and beef preparation, then generously dress the lemongrass vinaigrette with a spoon over the dish.
- Cut orange wedges in half and add to the salad pyramid.
- Tear coriander leaves and display over the Asian Beef Salad.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2020 All Rights Reserved.