Four Delicious, Economical Recipes for the Unfairly Snubbed Flank Steak

by on March 7th, 2015
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It’s known throughout the world by a variety of names; bavette in France, fajitas in Mexico and, oddly enough, as London Broil in the United States. Almost universally disdained for its toughness, the flank steak, if prepared with some thought and patience will deliver a fantastic, economical meal in a variety of cuisines.

Long considered a substandard cut, it has become a favorite of chefs everywhere who enjoy a flavorful piece of meat that can stand up to the tangiest marinades, the heartiest rubs and the most extreme cooking methods.

Flank steak can be seared, broiled, braised or roasted. Cooking of the steak can be done quickly or slowly, as a whole or in pieces. Regardless of the cooking method, one overriding consideration must always be kept in mind, the slicing. It is absolutely imperative that you slice a flank steak against the grain or you and your guests will spend a tiresome meal relentlessly chewing.

With this last fact in mind, here a four, fantastic recipes that use this economical and flavorful cut of meat. The first two use an outdoor grill while the last two can be prepared indoors. None of these recipes is particularly exacting and the chef should feel free to modify them as he sees fit.

American – London Broil

The next time you have a barbecue, go upscale. Instead of hamburgers and hotdogs, treat your guests to this excellent and easily prepared meal. In a bowl mix some ketchup, soy sauce, mashed garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. If necessary, use a little olive oil to loosen the mixture. Next, score the meat on both sides in a diamond pattern and apply the mixture. Let the combination marinate overnight.

The next day, when you’re ready to eat, preheat the grill on high. Then, sear the steaks for four minutes on each side. The result is delicious as is or on a Kaiser roll with a little horseradish. Serve with potato salad and don’t forget to cut across the grain.

Mexican – Beef Fajitas

This is essentially the same recipe as London Broil with a different blend of spices;

lime juice, green onions, garlic, cilantro, a little vegetable oil, red pepper, coriander, and anise.

For the slightly different experience, arrachera, a regional favorite in the north of Mexico, is a wonderful alternative. The marinade is onions, garlic cloves, adobo seasoning, cumin, pico de gallo and you favorite Mexican beer.

In either case, combine the ingredients, marinate overnight and cook as above. The meat will, of course, be excellent but the accompaniments are what will make it special. Be sure to have flour and corn tortillas, sour cream, refried beans, guacamole, fried onions and, of course, some jalapenos.

Chinese – Stir Fry Beef with Broccoli

With this recipe, we finally move the cooking indoors. It is also incredibly easy to make. The real secret is to cook the beef and the broccoli separately. To start, slice the beef across the grain and then marinate in some soy sauce and sugar for one hour. When ready, heat one cup of oil and cook the beef to the desired doneness and place aside.

Next, dispose of the oil except for two tablespoons. Add a clove of garlic and fry for two minutes, then add one cup of water and the broccoli and steam for five minutes. When the broccoli is tender, dispose of the water and add the beef back into the mixture. Next, add some more soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine. When hot, create a small round area in the bottom of the wok. Add cornstarch to the liquid and you will quickly make a delicious sauce. If you like your Asian stir fry with a little more kick, add some red pepper flakes of any authentic Asian hot sauce.

French – Bavette a L’Echalotte avec Pommes Frites

Steak with onions and potatoes may be quintessentially American, but the French have been serving and loving this dish for centuries. In fact, it is still a favorite in the cafés and bistros of Paris. This dish may be difficult to pronounce but it is simple to prepare and elegant to serve.

Heat your pan and sear the top side of the meat. Then add butter, salt and pepper and flip the meat. One to two minutes per side will result in a beautiful, rare piece of meat. Remove the steak, add the shallots and one half cup of red wine and cook until the shallots are tender. Plate and add some pommes frites and you’re done. By the way, for the uninitiated, pommes frites are just French fries.

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