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For the beef and marinade
1 flank steak (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
For the dressing
3 cloves garlic
1 to 6 Thai, bird, serrano, or jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced (for a milder dressing, seed the chiles)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
To finish the salad
1 head Boston or Bibb lettuce, separated into leaves, rinsed, and spun dry
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, such as Maui or Vidalia, very thinly sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
12 fresh mint leaves (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
Lightly score the flank steak in a crosshatch pattern, making the cuts 1/4 inch deep. Place the meat in a glass baking dish. Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Pour this mixture over the steak and let marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or as long as 8, turning several times.
Preheat the grill to hot.
Prepare the dressing. Grind the garlic, chiles, and sugar to a paste in a mortar with a pestle. Work in the fish sauce and lemon juice. Alternatively, the dressing ingredients can be puréed in a blender.
Prepare the salad. Line a platter with lettuce leaves and arrange the cucumber slices, onion, cherry tomatoes, and mint leaves (if using) on top.
When ready to cook, drain the steak. Oil the grill grate, then place the steak on the hot grate and grill until cooked to taste (4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare), using tongs to turn. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let cool slightly or completely. The salad can be served warm or at room temperature. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on the diagonal. Spoon the dressing over the salad and arrange the beef slices on top. Sprinkle with the cilantro and roasted peanuts and serve.