When hubby and I first met, he did not eat chocolate or red meat. Given that these were two of the most important staples in my diet at the time, I decided these food restrictions made us incompatible and told him at least one would have to change if our relationship were to succeed. I’m not kidding about that – I really did insist he start eating either chocolate or red meat! Well, as it turns out, I managed to win him over on both fronts. We can now share a chocolate dessert, and he has learned to appreciate a good steak on occasion. He is still particular about his meat, however, and really doesn’t like fatty cuts. Which means when we go to steakhouses, he generally gets filet mignon. But filet is such an expensive cut that I’m worried if I cook it myself I’ll ruin it, so at home we stick to flank steak, which is inexpensive and very lean. It is also incredibly easy to cook, although you do have to know what you are doing.
Flank steak is a tough cut of meat, which means that it really benefits from being tenderized by a marinade, and should be cooked quickly to sear the outside but leave the inside medium-rare. Well done flank steak will be very chewy and less enjoyable. It also needs to be sliced thinly, against the grain, for further tenderizing. I have tried many flank steak recipes over the years, and just came across another one on Simply Recipes which looked delicious. This recipe has the benefit of including only a few simple ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand. She also suggests scoring the meat before marinating, something I’ve never done before but sounded like a good idea. The main change I made was the cooking method – living in the city, I do not have a grill, and while I do enjoy the taste of cooking on a grill pan, I do not enjoy the smoke or the clean-up. So my new preferred method is broiling, which is so easy and much neater – simply cover a pan with foil and throw the foil away when you’re done (assuming you’re more talented than me and don’t drip the juices on the pan as you’re removing the foil ;). You don’t quite get the same crust on the outside, but in my opinion the meat is more evenly medium-rare throughout rather than being well done at the edges and rare at the center.
The steak came out great. Not quite the best flank steak I’ve ever had (my mom makes a marinade with hoisin sauce which is really hard to beat), but definitely a good recipe to keep in the rotation! The vinegar gives it a really nice tang, which is balanced nicely by the honey. If you go to Simply Recipes, there are also a bunch of suggestions for different recipes in the comments section if this doesn’t strike your fancy 🙂
Marinated Flank Steak
adapted from Simply Recipes
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds flank steak
Freshly ground pepper
Score the surface of the steak with 1/4 inch deep knife cuts, about an inch apart, across the grain of the meat. Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Place steak and marinade ingredients in a large zip top bag and ensure the steak is completely coated. Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Take the steak out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. Coat a baking sheet with foil, and preheat your broiler on high. Take the steak out of the bag, letting the extra marinade drip off, and place on prepared pan. Generously sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper to help the steak to form a savory crust*.
Broil the meat 3-4 minutes on each size for a thin steak (I had a 1 lb steak, and this was perfect for me), 5-6 minutes for a thicker cut. When the steak has cooked to your preferred level of doneness, remove from the pan and place on a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil to hold in the heat and to keep the steak from drying out, and let rest for 10 minutes**.
Cut against the grain on an angle to make very thin slices.
If you want, you can take the excess marinade and bring it to a boil, simmer for several minutes, and serve with the flank steak. My steak was less than 1 pound, so I ended up with tons of marinade that I didn’t want to throw out, so we did this. I thought it was delicious, but hubby thought the flavor was a bit strong. The oil will separate when you boil it, so you’ll need to either whisk it back in or skim it off, depending on your preference.
Serves 3 people per lb of meat
*I have to confess that I completely forgot this step, but it sounds like a great idea so I wanted to share with you all! Only thing is that the sauce is pretty salty, so you might not need/want the sauce if you have a salt crust.
**Ok, while I’m being honest, I put the meat in too late and the Red Wine Barley Risotto, despite taking forever to make, was ready by the time the steak came out of the oven, so my steak only got about 3 minutes of resting before I lost patience. It was still good but the juices definitely came flowing out, so I’d highly recommend trying to give the steak its full resting time!