April 8th, 2012
Rub oil all over beef and lightly season. Let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature on a plate, covered with plastic wrap.
Heat a heavy skillet, grill pan or barbecue. Cook beef over high heat until golden brown on all sides without burning. Remove from pan and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make dressing with a mortar and pestle or small food processor. If you have cilantro roots, cut them off, discard half and ash remainder thoroughly. Roughly chop a teaspoonful and place in the mortar with the chilies, garlic, and salt and pound to a paste. Finely grate zest of 2 limes and juice them all, then add zest to the mortar with sugar and pound again. Add lime juice, fish sauce, and soy sauce, mixing thoroughly to dissolve sugar. Adjust with extra sugar or fish sauce, if desired.
Remove leaves from cilantro stems and cut stems in 1/2-inch long pieces, then put leaves and stems in a bowl.
Place rice in a small dry pan and cook over moderate heat until golden, shaking often. Once cooked, take off heat and allow to cool, then grind it fine (but not a powder) in a spice grinder or mortar.
Once beef has rested, slice thinly against the grain and place slices in a bowl with shallots, half the peanuts, and most of the mint and cilantro leaves. Pour dressing over and gently toss together.
Divide lettuce leaves between 4 plates and place beef on top. Scatter remaining peanuts, rice, and herbs over as you serve.