Friday, May 9, 2008

Steak Mmmmm's

Happy Friday! 
I actually made this yesterday, but you'll forgive for not posting right after dinner, won't you? There was a lovely glass of wine that just begged me to keep it company, and then I had a date with Gil Grissom. 
The first time I made this dish was actually in January of this year, for a wine and tapas party that we hosted for friends. I followed the recipe, one of Emeril Lagasse's, exactly, and I must say it turned out wonderfully, and all of our guests enjoyed it. I'm not typically an enormous Emeril fan; the few recipes that I have tried have worked well, but I don't like that many include his branded seasoning. I'm sure it's delicious, but I prefer to work out my own. 
This time I took a few more liberties with the dish, and it turned out well. Less fancy than the original, fewer subtle touches, but for a meaty dinner on a weeknight, it's quick, easy, and incredibly flavorful. The original recipe called for a multi-ingredient overnight marinade, with ruby port as the main star. For my stripped-down version, I used balsamic vinegar. It still provided that added tang and sweetness, but at a fraction of the price. (This is not the time for that gorgeous thick nectar from Italy!) A simple medium-grade vinegar will do nicely. I just rubbed it into both sides of the steak and seasoned very well with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and let it come to room temperature. The vinegar did a great job flavoring and created a nice little crust under the broiler, and the meat came out rare and tender. 

That gorgeously radioactive shade of green is the real breakout star of this dish, and of course I've waited to mention it until now. Did you think this was just about a little flank steak? The sauce is a lively blend of parsley, garlic, jalapeno, bell pepper, oil, and vinegar. I played with the proportions a bit this time around, as we are big garlic fans in this household. If you're not quite as enthralled with it as we are, start with a smaller amount, taste, and add until you reach a balance of flavor that you enjoy. Be conservative with the sauce; it's so delicious and fresh you'll immediately be thinking up other things to put it on, but it's powerful too, and you don't want to mask the flavor of that lovely rare steak, do you? 

Balsamic Flank Steak with Parsley Sauce
adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1 Flank steak, approx 1 1/2 lbs
4 Tb Balsamic vinegar
Freshly cracked black pepper

Trim flank steak of any excess fat or silverskin. Drizzle 2 Tb of vinegar on one side, rub in, and season thoroughly with salt and pepper. Repeat on the other side, cover steak with plastic, and allow to come to room temperature. When the steak has come to room temperature, place it on a broiler pan and slide under the broiler. Keep a close eye, this is a thin piece of meat. I let this one have 3 minutes per side for rare, then removed it from the broiler and rested it for 10 minutes. If you do not let your steak come to room temperature, expect to add a few minutes per side of broiling time. After resting, slice the steak very thinly against the grain; this is the key to really tender flank steak. 

Parsley Sauce:
1 Tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
1 C parsley, roughly chopped
2/3 C green bell pepper,  diced
1 1/2 Tb seeded jalapeno, diced
3 Tb garlic, chopped
1 Tsp Kosher salt
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
3 Tb red wine vinegar

Toss the cumin, parsley, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and salt into a blender, food processor, or stick blender cup. Pulse a few times to get it started, then puree on high speed until smooth. Gradually add in the oil and vinegar with the machine running, and process until well blended. Check for seasoning. 

We served this steak with some simply roasted cauliflower. 

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