Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A steak for all seasons.

I’m going to tell you about some steak now.  We haven’t beefed in a while, you and I…waxed poetic about the magic of red meat (Vegetarians, cover your ears, I’m legit making carrot soup as I write this, I swear!).

This past weekend I was on a quest to create the perfect menu for a dinner party happening on the cusp of summer and fall.  It’s a tough enough time of year to get dressed in New England (Sandals? Courds? Is it boot time yet?  Do I need a jacket?  Will I look foolish in tights?), and cooking is an equal challenge.  I’m starting to crave roasted root veggies and all things apple, pork and cheese related…but I’ve still got tomatoes, cucumbers and basil coming, and it’s definitely still warm enough to grill outside.   So it’s tricky.

I solved the problem this time around with steak – gorgeous flank steak marinated in a potion with distinctive fall sensibilities: red wine, rosemary, toasted aromatics, garlic…and then tossed onto a hot grill and seared to a perfect medium rare.  When paired with roasted rainbow carrots, an arugula, celery and Asian pear salad, homemade buttery parsleyed garlic rolls, and a parsnip Yukon gold pureed soup to start, I felt it straddled the line and was the perfect transitional meal.  It sounds a little crazy now that I’m typing it, but it really did work rather well.  We topped it off with a ridiculously buttery sugary chess tart, accompanied by a sour raspberry reduction.

The craving for steak was first inspired by this, from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, and the chosen execution was adapted from a recipe in an old issue of Saveur.  I took my liberties and changed it up, switching out some ingredients and eliminating others, and was very pleased with the result.  You can prep the marinade and steak early in the morning, or even the night before – it will be best if you let it chill out in the marinade for 12-24 hours.  Then all you need to do at dinnertime is flip it on the grill…in any season really!

Marinated Flank Steak
adapted from Saveur

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 generous tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 fresh bay leaves

1/2 cup dry red wine (I used a puckery pinot noir)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire 
5 crushed cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 gorgeous 2 pound flank steak

Combine peppercorns, coriander, red pepper flakes and bay leaves in a small skillet.  Place over high heat and toast until fragrant, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer aromatics to a hard surface and lightly crush with the bottom of a heavy skillet.  Transfer to a 13x9 baking dish.

Add red wine, red wine vinegar, worcestershire, garlic, rosemary and olive oil.  Whisk to combine.

Poke flank steak all over with a fork, both sides.  Place in marinade, spooning some of the mixture on top.  Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, 12 to 24 hours.

An hour before grilling transfer steak to a plate and set aside at room temperature.  Transfer marinade to a small pot and bring to just a boil - set aside.

On a gas or charcoal grill create medium heat (we use a gas grill, so we set it to medium and presto!)  Grill steak, turning once, brushing with reserved marinade until browned and medium rare - 7 to 8 minutes per side.

Transfer to a cutting board.  Tent with foil and allow steak to rest for 10 minutes.  Slice thinly on the bias and serve with any accumulated juices.

Serves 4.


  1. And again I got to eat this culinary delight. Listen it pays to raise kids that like to and actually can cook. Yum was the word for the entire menu. Thanks and love, Mum

  2. Oh Patti, you are such a fabulous cook yourself! I've been lucky many a time to sample your cooking! Beth, I'm seriously considering moving closer to you so I can get in on your heaven-on-earth culinary action! Love love your blog and always look forward to new posts!! XO

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