Flank Steak, Rosemary and Garlic Rub, Panzanella Salad, Balsamic Cherries.The enigma referred to here is a cut of steak we may not all be familiar with.
Skirt or flank steak. People will argue the difference.
The butcher I purchased this piece from had it labelled ‘Skirt’. Some would beg to differ.
Others say ‘what’s the difference?’
It all comes from the same place. The underbelly of the cow. If not handled properly you’re in for a lot of chewing, but there is heaps of flavour to enjoy.
I’ve pulled out our much under-used griddle pan to cook the steak and grill some bread for our salad. Some home-dried rosemary from the widow sill is the basis of our rub. And with a tip of the hat to Xmas, Kid and I have prepared some juicy, plump cherries w/ balsamic and anise to go with.
Rosemary and Garlic Rub – for about 4 steaks
3 Rosemary sprigs (dry or fresh) – stem removed
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sumac (optional, some lemon zest would also be nice)How – Smash everything together in a mortar and pestle until pasty. We’ve used our own dried rosemary. About a month ago I had leftover fresh so left it to dry in a glass on the window sill. It has retained loads of aroma.
1 x 250g piece of good steak each.
Rosemary and garlic rub.
1 tablespoon light olive oil.
How – It’s important to remove any excess sinew from the meat. Even the very thin membrane that can be pulled away with your hands and a little patience. Be sure not to tear the meat apart. Rub all over with the rosemary mixture and let stand at room temp for an hour or so.Heat your griddle pan or bbq to a high heat. Rub the oil onto the meat and cook for 3-4 minutes either side.
We are looking for medium rare. Remove from the pan and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
It’s important to consider these three things :
*Medium rare is best. I’ve let our’s get to medium for Kids’ sake. Anything over this and your steak will be dry and chewy. If you can’t eat steak this pink, use a piece of rump. The degree of cooking will go up a grade whilst resting.
*Resting is important for tenderness and moisture.
Try this – Clench your fist and poke your forearm. Now unclench your fist and poke your forearm. Softer right? Well applying high, direct heat to meat has the same effect. Resting is unclenching your fist.
At the same time, high heat releases moisture. Resting allows moisture to be drawn back into the meat. Ever cut into a just cooked steak and find you’re soon swimming in steak juice? Resting helps prevent this. You want that moisture inside the meat, not running around your plate.
*Cut across the grain. And always slice flank thin. Imagine the muscle fibres are the strings of a violin and your knife a bow. You want to run your bow across the strings, not along them. This is for tenderness and easiness of chew.
Picture having to eat a piece of string. Chewing it in one big, long piece will be hard work. But if you cut it into lots of little, shorter pieces, it seems easier. I’m sorry I don’t have a better analogy. Please don’t eat string.Balsamic Cherries
200g fresh cherries – pipped and halved
1/4 cup balsamic
3 anise stars
How – In a small non-reactive saucepan, reduce the balsamic with the star anise by about 2/3’s. It will start to become syrupy due to the sugar content. Careful, it will burn if you look away too long. Add the cherries, stir and remove from the heat. Serve at room temp.
Panzanella is a rustic Italian salad made from really ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and grilled bread (pane is Italian for bread,hence the name) all smothered in good olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt and cracked pepper. Traditionally used as a way to use up bread with a few days on it, there are numerous variations on the theme. We’re using vine ripened and little kumato tomatoes, fresh basil, baby bocconcini, avocado and some grainy sour dough. The bread is sliced and cooked on the griddle pan after the steak, to soak up some goodness. Arrange everything however you will, season and dress nicely. We used avocado oil and malt vinegar to great effect.What Kid Did
The cherries were Kids’ idea all along. As soon as she saw them at the fruit shop, I knew we’d be having cherries. Are there any fruits your kids lose their shit over?Kid pipped and halved, and ate half of, the cherries. She also picked basil, helped arrange the salad and stir the cherries while we talked about the steak, our upcoming trip to Tasmania for Xmas and boys. The Doctor is away with work and Kid is at home on holidays, hence the steak. This is the first ‘slab’ of red meat I’ve sat down to in over a year. Purely through choice.
This size portion is easily big enough and you could well stretch it further in a salad or in fajitas, which is how the Mexicans like to serve it. I’ve watched single diners in steak houses proudly eat enough red meat in one sitting to feed a large family. How’s ya colon?
Each to their own I suppose.
Fact of the day (and connection to our article’s title) – Contrary to what some may think, it was the Russians that gave us our current dining style of bringing each course to a table separately. Service a la Russe.
Service a la Francaise is everything presented at one time for dramatic effect.
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things.
June edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Susan and Mike from Simply Sundays. The theme this month is “Tastes of Summer”.