Flank Steak Story


Of all the food and drink pairings, the greatest, I think, is the pairing of red meat and red wine. Sure, you have your champagne and oysters, your blue cheese and port. But give me a caramelized cut of ribeye and pair it with a spicy Syrah and I’m in heaven–a very red heaven.

On Saturday, then, I wanted to bring this combination home after spending the afternoon cleaning with Craig. I ventured out to Union Market which is Park Slope’s more high-end mart. I go there when I buy meat and fish; everything else, I do ok at Key Foods. I was all set to buy ribeye but then I remembered: ribeye is expensive. $25/pound expensive and each ribeye was one pound.

So I turned to the flank steak. One pound of flank steak was $11 (as far as I recall) and the butcher said one pound of flank steak should feed two people fine. “Make sure to cut it against the grain,” he added, “and on an angle.”

But what to serve it with? I could’ve made this a standard steak and potatoes dinner. But ever since I made my ribeye for one this summer, I love the pairing of steak with a bold salad: raw red onion, tomato, cucumber, oil, vinegar and some kind of cheese.

Since it’s winter, tomatoes are way out of season except, as other chefs have pointed out, cherry tomatoes do ok year-round. So I bought cherry tomatoes on the vine, cucumber, onion and feta cheese and came home and produced the plate you see in the picture above.

How did I do it? It took all of 15 minutes. First, I took the cherry tomatoes on the vine, put them on a cookie sheet, coated them in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and popped in a 400 degree oven until they “popped”: about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, I cut the cucumbers and onions thickly and tossed them with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a hit of balsamic, plus salt and pepper.

Finally, while I was doing all this, I was heating my skillet. I wanted it to be blazing hot and still, even though it was on the highest flame for about 5 minutes, I don’t think it was hot enough. Next time I’ll do what I did with that ribeye: Alton’s method of putting the pan in a 500 degree oven to get it super super super hot. That’s what I’ll do next time.

Still, the flank steak turned out very tasty, if not as caramelized on the outside as I would’ve liked. I rubbed the meat with olive oil, coated in lots of salt and pepper and threw in the pan where it shot off a cloud of smoke. (The smoke detector went off: that’s how you know you’re really cooking).

About 3-5 minutes per side, or until it gets a golden brown color. Mine was golden brown in spots, but also gray, and again I wish I’d gotten the pan hotter. And dried the meat with paper towels before coating in oil.

Still, cooked like this, the meat was perfectly rare on the inside. I did as the butcher said and, after letting it rest for 10 minutes, I cut it on the bias against the grain. And served it as you see above, sprinkling the entire plate–the roasted tomatoes, the steak, and the cucumber/onion salad with feta cheese.

It was dynamite and you’re probably wondering: what did you pair it with?

At my local wine ship (Red, White & Bubbly) I bought a marked down bottle of Spanish wine. Let me go look at the label…

…a 2002 Crianza Albarroble. I have no idea what any of that means, but it was spicy and tasty and went wonderfully with the meat.

Again, what’s better than red meat and red wine? And if you cook flank steak for $11 and pair it with a $10 bottle of wine, you can have this elegant dinner for two for less than $30.

Ruth Chris is rolling around in her grave.

You may also like