Sunday, January 20, 2013

ChezCindy: Sharing Family Recipes: Marinated Flank Steak

Marinated Flank Steak

One of the greatest treasures is the sharing of family recipes from one generation to the next.  It captures the flavor and the essence of the time and the person, extending the memory for years to come.  This marinated steak recipe was shared with me from a good friend.  Her mother has taken the time to create a hand-written notebook for her, passing down family recipes.  Kind of like a food blog.  I too have a notebook of handwritten ideas, experiments and recipe creations that eventually, I will transfer to this site.  But I do enjoy looking back at my hand-written notes and scribbles in the margins.  It truly was the origin of this site. 

There are many combinations of ingredients for marinated steak, but this one comes together particularly well.  I think it is the use of the maple syrup.  It lends a different sweetness than what I generally see in marinade recipes.  And when grilled, the syrup caramelizes on the meat, producing a great balance of sweet and savory.  It is simple to put together; cooks up quickly; but does take a bit of planning.  The steak will need to marinate for 6-8 hours or overnight.  So don't plan on having this for dinner on the same day unless you begin early in the morning.  I used Flank Steak for this recipe, but you can make this with Skirt Steak, London Broil or even Filet Mignon (if you want to spend the money!).  The marinade is a great compliment to beef, but could also be used with pork or chicken. 

Cooking Flank or Skirt Steak has some important rules to remember.  The cut of meat is inexpensive and therefore not as tender.  If improperly cooked, it will be like eating tough leather.  Follow these rules and you will be rewarded with tender, delicious steak at a reasonable price.

1. Flip only once while grilling
2. Don't cook past medium
3. Let rest for 5 minutes
4. Cut across the grain

Cutting across the grain:  If you look closely at the picture below, you will see that the grain of the steak runs across the picture, from left to right, the long-length of steak.  So cutting across the grain means you will slice across the short-width of the steak. 

Marinated Flank Steak
2 lbs Flank Steak
4 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of coarsely cracked black pepper

Place the steak in a zip top bag.  Add all the ingredients to the bag.  Close the zip top; massage the bag to combine the ingredients within, coating the steak.  Place the bag into a bowl (just to be sure you catch any possible leaks) and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Working with either an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan, lightly oil the grill rack.  Preheat the grill until the rack is very hot.  Remove the steak from the bag, allowing some of the marinade to drip back into the bag.  The meat will be wet, but not sopping.  Place the steak directly onto the grill rack.  Sear on this first side for 5-7 minutes.  Carefully turn the steak over to grill the second side, cooking for another 4-5 minutes.  This cut of meat should be served medium-rare to medium.  Over-cooking to well done will produce a tough steak. 
Remove the meat from the grill and place onto a cutting board.  Allow the meat to rest for about 5 minutes.  This step is very important.  If you cut into the steak immediately, all of the juices will run out and the steak will be dry.
Cut the steak across the grain of the meat into thin slices.  Serve with your favorite side dishes. 

Cooking Times:  The cooking times directed above are for Flank Steak.  Skirt Steak is generally thinner than Flank and will require much less time; only 4-5 minutes on side one and 3-4 minutes on side two.  London Broil is a thicker cut than Flank, so this will need to cook longer; 7-9 minutes on side one and 6-8 on side two.

Wine Pairing Suggestion:  A light Spanish red wine, made from Grenache grapes.

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