Steaks and Mistakes or This is the best Flank Steak and Chimichurri meal that I have ever made
I love steak. I am not a meat and potatoes girl. I am a steak with yummy sauces girl. Although I will eat potatoes when Yes!Chef! makes them (and he loves potatoes), I can do without them for the most part. But pair up a great steak (and that includes ground up types of steak like hamburger) with a great sauce (not gravy) and some interesting veggies and I am a happy woman.
The other night I decided that I would like to make dinner because Yes!Chef! was busy doing something or other. He didn’t argue with me, but he wasn’t overly enthused, either. I think he’s seen too many of my experiments (like the balsamic roasted tomatoes I tried recently – below) and was understandably a little uneasy.
I should have known I was on the wrong track with the tomatoes in the lower left. But, nooooo. I kept roasting until I pulled them out (lower right photo). Note to self: when roasting tomatoes low and slow, don’t use balsamic vinegar until after the tomatoes have been roasted. I guess after seeing this picture, you might be scared of my cooking, too.
By the way…I’ve been asked why I would talk about my disasters in the kitchen (and in my photography, for that matter) and actually take pictures of these “mistakes”. I read food blogs like everyone else and I’ve noticed that most of them never make mistakes. How is that possible? I would say in some cases, these people are so good that they don’t make mistakes like the above, but everyone blows it…overcooks, undercooks, underseasons, overseasons, or just makes something yukky. I am a photographer by trade and a story-teller (at least in my mind) and so I document pretty much everything…in the best possible light, of course. And we (Yes!Chef! and myself) both cook things that we would rather not talk about. Indeed, my food photography teacher commented on the above picture, “That’s why we never experiment with our cooking on shooting day.” I will not mention his name out of decency because I have taken several classes from him and he is a wonderful, nationally known food photographer and a fine teacher. Although, I think he would even admit that the lighting on my disaster is pretty good.
Ha! Anyway, I think new cooks and even experienced cooks feel better when they know that other people make bone-headed mistakes in cooking and the best thing that can happen to some dishes is to throw them away. (You will be surprised to know that I was so hopeful about those tomatoes that I actually tried them. It was not a pleasant experience.)
Now, here’s a pretty picture of a flower to get your mind off those “roasted” tomatoes
It will probably take at least two pretty flower photos to wipe those nasty looking tomatoes out of your mind.
So, when I told Yes!Chef! that I wanted to make dinner because I had found an interesting recipe, he shrugged…or maybe it was a shudder…at any rate, I went full speed ahead with my cooking project. Here’s the original recipe that I found that was my inspiration: Grilled marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri
I can proudly say that the Flank Steak and Chimichurri Sauce was a complete and total success. So much so, that Yes!Chef! requested that I make it again because it was so yummy and delicious (and also because we still had some herbs left over and he didn’t want them to go to waste. Sigh.)
I will also admit that I did not actually cook the steak. Yes!Chef! grilled it on the barbecue to perfection. I don’t do barbecue…but Yes!Chef! does it very well.
This steak was quite easy to make and didn’t require a lot of planning ahead of time. It was marinated for about 1 hour in the fridge and the sauce took a few minutes to make. The sauce sat on the counter for that same hour becoming more and more delicious.
Here’s the recipe for the Marinated Flank Steak and Chimichurri Sauce
Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or pancake syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pound flank steak
Freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
- 1/2-1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1/4 cup good wine vinegar (or you can use red wine vinegar)
- 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2+/- teaspoon salt (to taste)
Score both sides of the flank steak with a sharp knife, making 1/4 inch deep knife cuts an inch apart, across the grain of the meat.
Combine the marinade ingredients. Add steak and marinade to a large freezer bag, seal bag, and turn to coat the steak well. Chill and marinate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Using an olive oil-soaked paper towel, coat your grill rack. Preheat the grill to high direct heat.*
Remove steak from marinade and sprinkle each side generously with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper . Place steak on the hot grill. Grill until on each side until you reach your desired temperature: 125 degrees for medium rare. Yes!Chef! says that it took at least 4 minutes on each side for his charcoal barbecue. It will probably take less time on a gas grill, but cover the gas grill when you cook the meat.
When the steak has cooked to medium rare or your desired doneness, remove from the grill and allow to rest on a cutting board covered with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes.
Cut very thin slices, against the grain, and at a slight diagonal so that the slices are wide. Slicing the steak this way makes for the most tender flank steak. If you slice with the grain, it will be much tougher.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until well blended. Transfer to a bowl and cover until ready to use. An hour is good. Serve this at room temperature for best taste results and so that it won’t chill the hot steak.
If you don’t know how to score a flank steak, click on the link in the word “Score” and there is a quick video. (The term “score” does not mean that you won a flank steak…it’s a cooking term. I feel compelled to say this because people in my family would run around saying things like, “Yes! I scored a flank steak.” Or, “Look what I scored? A flank steak!” *fist pumping, hazzah-ing and steak waving would abound*)
I promise you this is a taste sensation. You will say, “Wowsers!” or something similar.
You will want to make this again because it is so good and so easy. In fact, the next day, we had leftovers with eggs and it was still just as tasty, if not more so. The flank steak is bursting with flavor. It would probably be good without the sauce, but make the sauce. The original recipe called for honey as the sweet ingredient in the marinade. One of the great/not so great things about living in the country is that there are not a lot of options for shopping. I discovered that my honey had crystallized and I didn’t want to figure out how to un-crystallize it. Besides, honey didn’t sound very interesting to me. I rummaged around in my pantry and found some Eggo Pancake syrup…yes, pancake syrup. Later I remembered that we had real Maple syrup in the fridge, which we used on the next batch. The syrup added another flavor level besides sweetness. I liked it. Yes!Chef! liked the real maple better (I think he’s a little bit of a food snob.)
The Chimichurri sauce has a great, but not overpowering, kick to it. I love the taste of cilantro, so I used equal parts of it with parsley. The red wine vinegar adds necessary acid to bring the flavors out. It is such an easy sauce to make and adds so much to the steak that there is no reason for you to not make it.
You probably noticed that I was able to remake my roasted tomatoes and they look quite decent. They taste even better. I wisely used the balsamic vinegar after the tomatoes had been roasted. Then, I sprinkled the finished tomatoes with goat cheese. I also roasted artichoke hearts (the non-marinated kind) in the oven along with the tomatoes. First I rinsed them off very well, to get the brine taste off. Then, I dried them on paper towels very well. After that, I put them on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzled olive oil over them and sprinkled them with a little kosher salt. I roasted them on a low oven (275 degrees) for a couple of hours until the moisture was mostly gone and the hearts began to caramelize.
The flavor of these artichoke hearts is intensified, tasting much like the kind that are marinated (only without the oily taste). They are easy and fairly economical.
For the above dish, I added balsamic vinegar and melted some mozzarella cheese before adding chopped basil and the finished artichoke hearts. A sweet little appetizer.
And, because my original roasted tomatoes were such a disaster and the image may still be burning in your eyes, here’s a couple more pretty pictures to compensate.
I can’t promise that I won’t post more of my disasters, but I will always try to make it up to you.
Enjoy the steak. It really is worth trying.
(PS. You could probably use the Chimichurri sauce on chicken or fish, if you like.)