1 large Asian pear, about the size of a softball, peeled and cored
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2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Thai red chili paste
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 pound skirt steak
8 ounces thin, 4-inch-long asparagus tips, blanched (see note)
8 ounces (¼ head) savoy cabbage, cored and very thinly shredded
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into matchstick-size strips (julienne)
4 scallions, white and light-green parts, trimmed and chopped (½ cup)
1 large Asian pear, about the size of a softball, peeled and cut into ½-inch batons (like shoestring french fries)
1-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated
1 small jalapeno pepper, sliced into razor-thin rings
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ cup water
Sesame seeds, for garnish
For the dressing/marinade: Cut the Asian pear into chunks, transfer them to a mini-food processor and add the fish sauce, soy sauce, chili paste, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Purée until smooth. The yield is 1½ cups.
For the salad: Place the skirt steak in a gallon-size resealable plastic food storage bag. Pour in ½ cup of the dressing/marinade, massaging the bag to make sure the meat is completely coated. Place the bag on a plate so that the meat lies flat, and let it marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Combine the asparagus, cabbage, red bell pepper, scallions, Asian pear, ginger and jalapeno in a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup of dressing/marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate.
When ready to cook, remove the steak from the marinade and blot dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard the marinade.
Heat the canola oil in a cast-iron skillet over high heat until the oil is almost smoking. Add the steak and sear on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate to rest for 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the water to the skillet, scraping to dislodge any browned bits, then add that pan liquid to the vegetables.
To assemble: Mound the vegetables on a platter. Cut the meat into thin strips and arrange them on the vegetables, pouring any accumulated juices from the plate on top of them. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve right away.
Cook's note: To blanch the asparagus tips, have ready a bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus tips and cook for 30 seconds, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the ice water bath to stop their cooking. Blot dry on paper towels.
David Hagedorn for The Washington Post