A classic; also works with steamed rice. Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours to marinate. Notes: You can use a grill pan or broiler instead of a grill. (Broil onions first, about 10 in. from heat, and then beef, about 6 in. from heat.)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 or 4 large cloves)
1 1/2 stalks lemon grass, outer layer peeled off and inner core minced (about 3 tbsp.)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound beef tri-tip or round, sliced against the grain into 1/4-in. slices
2 tablespoons and crushed unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
How to Make It
In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together sugar, pepper, garlic, lemon grass, fish sauce, and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add beef, toss to coat, and refrigerate 2 hours.
Rub remaining 1 tbsp. oil over onions. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high heat (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 in. above grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Brush grill with vegetable oil. Thread onions onto two 8-in. metal skewers. Lay onion skewers on grill and cook (close lid on gas grill) until softened, about 15 minutes, turning skewers every 5 minutes or so.
When onions are cooked halfway, lay beef slices on grill and cook (close lid on gas grill), turning once, 3 to 5 minutes.
Arrange beef and onions on a platter and garnish with cilantro and peanuts.
I made the marinade as stated in the recipe, but with really coursely ground pepper, ground in a heavy mortar. It was just right. I imagine that if you went with a finer ground 1Tsp would be too much. Also, I am fortunate to have a proper butcher who can hook me up with raw beef sliced so thin it's see-through. This works brilliantly.
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