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August 21, 2009

 For more info on great local beef, check http://www.obergbrothersnaturalbeef.com/

 

To get started lets take out a pyrex glass dish that can fit our two pound steak plus some marinade. Peel three or four cloves of garlic and give them a rough chopping. Add one teaspoon of salt (kosher salt with bigger grains might work better) to the bottom of the dish and use the back of a wooden spoon to crush the garlic into a paste in the salt.

Take two or so sprigs of fresh rosemary and or tarragon and strip the leaves from the woody stems. Mince up the fresh herbs and add them to the dish. Yes, rosemary and tarragon have very different flavors, but either or both would taste great here. You could also use fresh thyme, marjoram, savory, or a number of other tasty herbs. Just make sure you have at least two tablespoons of chopped fresh herb leaves, whatever spice you decide on.

Now add one tablespoon of rough ground deli mustard (preferably with some horseradish in it) and a tablespoon of honey. Pour in a splash of olive oil, like 3 tablespoons worth. Grind in a whole bunch of black pepper, and open up a bottle of less-expensive yet bold local red wine. Pour at least half of the bottle into the dish and stir the marinade together. It may take some vigorous stirring to get the honey to mix in, and you can even heat the mixture over the burner for a few moments if you have a hard time getting the honey to dissolve.

Now lay your London broil or flank steak in the dish and liberally poke it with a dinner fork, about 20 times on each side. This should tenderize it and allow it to soak up more of the marinade. Cover the marinating meat and put in the fridge for 4 hours, or even save time by making this up the night before cooking. It will only get more flavorful and tender the longer it sits in the tasty juices. Make sure you flip the meat at least once if the marinade doesn’t cover it over completely.

Actually, as a quick aside, I like to do all of my marinating in large zip top plastic bags. This way you can let out all the air and ensure the marinade is getting to all sides of the meat. But either method will work fine for this steak recipe.

 

OK, so once the meat has marinated for many hours, remove it and pat it dry with a paper towel. Discard all but a cup or two of the marinade. Heat up the barbecue grill to medium high. If you are using coals, make a two-heat fire so you can cook the thinner part of the steak over a lower heat. On a gas grill you can just turn down the heat on one side of the burners.

When the grill is really nice and hot, place the flank steak on the grill and let it cook for about 6 minutes per side, until it gets nicely browned. Flip the steak and repeat, then slice in and see how things are looking. I like my steak nicely pink but not red. A meat thermometer is really the perfect tool for getting a perfect steak, so it might be a smart investment if you are an avid griller. It is better to use the thermometer than to cut into the steak, because you will lose more juices to the knife.

When the London broil is grilled to your liking, take it off the heat but don’t carve in just yet. To retain juicy, tender meat it is very important to let the steak rest for 10 minutes before cutting in. While the meat is resting, let’s make our sautéed onions and pears with wine reduction. Take one large sweet onion, peeled, and chop into fat slices. Core two medium pears and gut them into thin slices (you may only really need a pear and a half, depending on their size).

Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and allow them to brown a bit before adding the pears. We don’t actually want the pears to sautee too much, just to soften up a bit, so wait until the onions are almost done before adding them. After 10 minutes or so, the onions should be done, so scrape out the pears and onions and set aside.

Now add the leftover marinade we saved, which is essentially red wine, into the same skillet. Heat it on medium high until it begins to simmer, then reduce the heat. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the wine has reduced and thickened considerably, which could take another 10-15 minutes. Great, this looks delicious, so remove the wine reduction from the heat.

The steak has had a chance to rest now, so let’s slice it up nice and thin always cutting across the grain. This will help combat any toughness in the meat we might encounter. Arranged the sliced London broil on a serving platter and top it with the sautéed onions and pears. Liberally spoon over the wine reduction sauce and finish with a handful of crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola, which will add a tangy, creamy complexity that will perfectly balance the pears, steak, and wine. You could also finish off this beautiful dish with another grind of black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley leaves. Glorious, now let’s whip up some pureed cauliflower for a side dish.

For this simple side we’ll need:

- about 1 pound of cauliflower florets, chopped

-1 or 2 garlic cloves, smashed with the back of your chef’s knife

-About 1 cup chicken broth

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-black pepper to taste

-1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

-2 tablespoons heavy cream

-1 tablespoon unsalted butter

-fresh chopped parley and/or scallions for garnish

 

Simmer the cauliflower, garlic, broth, and salt in a small saucepan, covered, until the cauliflower is very tender. This should take about 10 minutes. Next, purée mixture with the cheese, cream and butter in a food processor until it is nice and smooth (of course always use caution when blending hot liquids), or mash it all up the old fashioned way with a potato masher or even a fork. Top the mashed cauliflower with chopped parley and scallions, an it’s ready to serve. If the mixture seems a little bland to you, I sometimes add a tiny pinch of curry powder to spice things up a bit.

And there you have it, a fabulous grilled steak dinner topped with sautéed onions and pears with a side of flavorful cauliflower puree. A simple salad of baby greens and vinaigrette will complete this fabulous meal. 

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