Happy New Year! I always like to start the New Year with a BANG, and if you call the flu..make that the death of me flu, a BANG, then I guess I did. Remember that ear infection I was talking about on Christmas Eve? That was a precursor to almost two weeks now of misery. I am one hot mama, and I’m not speaking in an aesthetic sense; I’m speaking in a 102 Fahrenheit sense.
SO, my holiday consisted of bed rest and lots of fluids. Writing this post is not easy. I write a paragraph..take a break, lather, rinse, repeat.
OK..I’m back from one of my ‘rest’ breaks. Every year after the holidays, when I’m not sick..I crave two things immensely..lots of pasta, and steak. For this month’s Secret Recipe Club. I was assigned the blog The Heritage Cook. I was thrilled; I love Jane’s blog, and trying to decide on one recipe was like trying to decide what my new personal chef, Jacques Pepin, should make for me at each meal.
Only in my dreams.
The steak, soaking up all of that delicious marinade.
I digress. Post holiday I crave pasta and steak, and after seeing this Grilled Asian Marinated Flat Iron Steak on Jane’s blog, I put aside these Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars and this Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Walnut Crust and Creamy Chocolate Sauce for another day because I had to make this steak. Not only did the marinade sound terrific, but it contains an ingredient I’m quite fond of. Alright, that’s an understatement. An ingredient I love and have dabbled with more than a bit on this blog. Sriracha Sauce. Jane has a lot of mouth-watering, spicy recipes, like Crab Wontons with Screaming Hot Chile Sauce – (my kinda gal), but, again, I had to have this steak.
Season generously with kosher salt and fresh black pepper for an amazing crust.
I couldn’t find a decent flat-iron steak, so I went for the tough guy (what else is new, I like my meat like I like my men?), err..tough cut of beef aka the underbelly of the cow. The cut of beef that dares you to love me tender…
Yes, I wanted it this rare, but I promise it’s amazing no matter how you like it, even well done according to those who have cooked it until it’s well done. From a personal standpoint, I don’t recommend cooking it to well done. That said, the artificial lighting gave the meat a gray tinge. It figures.
There are three steps to making flank steak melt-in-your-mouth tender; 1. Marinate 2. Sear on a very hot grill or pan 3. Slice the steak against the grain. The grain (it looks like rows of lines) runs vertically up and down the length of the steak, so you cut across the grain horizontally, preferably thin and on the bias. If you love chewing on shoe leather, slice it along the grain.
So, after a 12-hour soak in Jane’s marinade (I increased the amount of oil, used dark sesame oil instead of vegetable oil, and added garlic), I cooked the steak in a grill pan on my little table top burner – the one I used after knee surgery, because I was too weak and woozy to stand at the stove. While the pan was heating up..I leaned back and closed my eyes. I figured I had time since you want the pan smoking hot to get a really good sear.
Well, this table top burner had more oomph than I realized. Within 2 minutes it was smoking like crazy. FIRE! OK, no fire, but I did yell that out when I saw all the smoke. I slapped the steak into the pan and it settled down like a baby with a pacifier. Despite almost burning my house down, I got a fantastic sear; a beautiful, grill-marked crust.
Somehow it feels wrong that near disaster produced a perfect crust on my steak, and it made me happy.
After letting it rest for 10 minutes..I starting slicing it. The knife was dull (shame on me), but I persevered because I was dying to taste it, get some photos, and get back to bed; I had no energy to start sharpening knives. A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife, and I knew that, so again, shame on me.
Well, as expected, I cut the dickens out of a digit; my middle finger on my left hand. After wrapping it up in a paper towel, tightly, then slipping a latex glove on that hand, I continued to slice the steak for photos, using another somewhat dull knife, my finger stiff and throbbing. This is why my slices are too thin and raggedy and do not look like THIS.
But, it all worked out in the end (yes, I like it really rare, that was no mistake!). Jane’s marinade was magnificent, and the steak was super tender, like filet mignon, not to mention, loaded with flavor.
Okay, so I made more than a few small changes, like omitting the cornstarch, and ummmm, adding 15 drops of Sriracha, a little more hoisin sauce, and the sesame oil..but it’s basically the same.
If you get a chance, pop on over to Jane’s blog, The Heritage Cook. You’ll want to make just about everything! Oh, she also gives you gluten-free options for all of her recipes. Not too shabby, huh? Thank you for a great recipe, Jane!
Asian Flank Steak Recipe
Adapted from The Heritage Cook
- 1 or 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- ½ cup dry white wine, dry vermouth or sake
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used light soy sauce because I salted the steak after marinating)
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 cloves smashed garlic (just smash each clove with the flat side of a heavy knife, then add to marinade)
- 5 to 15 drops Sriracha Sauce ( I used 15, of course)
- 2 tablespoons dark (toasted) sesame oil
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- One 1½ to 2 lb flank steak
- kosher salt and black pepper
- neutral oil..such as vegetable
- kosher salt and more fresh ground black pepper to coat the steak before searing
- Stir together all the ingredients for the marinade. If you'd like, score the top of the steak so the marinade seeps in - about 1 inch cuts apart. I didn't do that, but, as Martha would say "It's a good thing". Place the flank steak in a ziplock bag or bowl, and pour the marinade over it. Seal or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours, no less than 2 hours.
- Remove steak from marinade and blot completely dry. Do not rinse it! Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. If you'd like..boil down (reduce) the marinade to make a sauce.
- Heat a grill pan or your outdoor grill (or just a cast iron or any flat pan on your stove if you have neither a grill nor a grill pan) until very hot. Oil (a neutral oil like vegetable) the grill pan when you can barely hold your hand over it for a few seconds. You want to see a little smoke. Season the steak generously with kosher salt and fresh, ground black pepper and slap it on the grill or grill pan. Let cook anywhere from 3-4 minutes per side (rare) to 6 or 7 minutes per side (well done). I cooked mine a little over 3 minutes per side for rare, but I usually cook it a little over 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Once it's on the grill, do not move it until it's time to turn it, so it forms a nice crust. If you want crisscross grill marks, move it once half way in between the cooking time for each side.
- Remove the steak to a carving or cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. If you cut into it before that, you'll lose a lot of the juices, so patience is key here. The steak will absorb it's juices (basically suck them back in) during those 10 minutes - making it, well, extremely juicy.
- Using a SHARP knife, slice the steak against the grain on the bias (diagonal) See HERE how to do that. Top with chopped scallions and some of the reduced marinade (if you decided to boil it down for a sauce) and enjoy!