As someone who loves to drink beer, I hate to think of wine hogging all the glory when it comes to meal pairings. After all, beer has the same capacity to make/break a meal based on a good or poor match for the food. Similarly, I feel that beer is a totally underestimated ingredient in most cooking, and even in baking!
It should come as no surprise, then, that when I was approached with the possibility of developing a recipe using Samuel Adams beer, I was eager for the challenge. Samuel Adams brewery has a number of seasonal beers for sale at the moment, but I used to serve at a restaurant that sold their Boston Lager, and knew it was a winner. It’s got a nice hoppy scent, and a slightly sweet almost caramel flavour, and just enough bitterness to balance it all out.
(Side note: the day I decided to bike over to The Beer Store to pick it up, it was pouring rain, so I looked like a very determined beer drinker cycling my soaked six-pack all the way home.)
When it came time to think up a recipe, I was daydreaming about the fresh beer I used to drink in Hanoi while snacking on street food all afternoon, and it occurred to me that something Vietnamese-inspired would be perfect. I wanted to make a dish that was light enough for the summer weather, but hearty enough to be filling (i.e. not just a salad), so I made take on Vietnamese bún (rice vermicelli noodle) dishes. So here you have it: my Vietnamese-inspired beef noodle salad!
I marinated some finely-cut flank steak with the beer for an hour, threw the rice vermicelli noodles in the pot in the meantime, and while the noodles were cooking, I made the sauce and chopped up all the fixings. What I love about a meal like this, is although it’s a bit hands-on to get everything onto the table, once it’s there, everyone just helps themselves. You give ’em the empty bowls and they’ll fill them up with all the noodles, beef, and greenery that they want!
The beer helped make the meat really tender and infused it with great flavour. And the light sauce drizzled over the noodles really helps elevate the flavours and brings them all together. This dish is best eaten the day it’s made, preferably in the company of good friends on some long, hazy summer evening!
Until next time!
This post was sponsored by Branding and Buzzing. At One Tough Cookie, I’m beginning to work (once in a while) with quality brands to create recipes I think my readers will enjoy. Working with sponsors gives me an opportunity to create unique, quality content more often. If you have any questions about the sponsored posts, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org