Thursday, April 01, 2010

Budget Dinner: Grilled Flank Steak

Though I continute to fail, I am always trying to stem the flow of money that bursts from my wallet at the supermarket. I will have a few good weeks of keeping my food shopping budget well within reason and then lose control myself on a Sunday morning at Shaws and spend twice what I would normally spend, for seemingly the same amount of food.

But I never claimed to be perfect! And the most I can do is continually add items to my shopping "must haves" list that ARE budget friendly to offset the splurges. And maybe somehow it will all work out. Right?

You know what I mean by "must haves" - Items you buy every week. The first things you write on the list (before you revise the list to be in order of aisle/location. You do that, right?). Things you just always have on hand.

For me these items include items like fat free Greek Yogurt, chick peas, potatoes, onions, reduced fat string cheese, pasta, egg whites, turkey bacon. And then I usually write "budget meat" which sounds super appetizing but it encompasses a few things:

1) flank steak
2) ground turkey
3) whatever other meat is on sale (chicken, pork, fish, etc)

Please note this is what I TRY to do. But if there is some gorgeous sockeye salmon calling my name I am going for it even if it's not on sale. If there is a chicken recipe I must try occasionally I will buy chicken breasts even when they are exhorbitantly NOT on sale.

In any case I thought I would share my recipe for grilled flank steak because it is SO inexpensive (we're talking $4-$5 for a steak large enough to feed two people) really easy and incredibly tasty. With a little extra effort you can extract from this tougher cut of meat a delicious and tender steak.

The trick is, you want to start the night before you actually want to serve it. Tougher cuts of meat, as you may know, benefit from tenderizing whether the means of doing that is slow cooking or marinating. Each effort will break down the tough parts of the meat leaving you with a richly flavored and tender dinner.

Grilled Flank Steak

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 large flank steak

Combine all of the ingredients (except the steak). Don't be afraid to taste it and add more of any of the ingredients to suit you. Mix well.

Remove your steak from the wrapper and salt and pepper it on each time (this cut benefits from multiple layers of flavor)

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If you have a large plastic Ziplock bag, place the steak inside, pour the marinade in and seal, making sure there is no air in the bag. I did not have a bag so I used a pyrex dish.

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Refridgerate for 24 hours, turning occasionally. If you need to kill some time you can always do what I do!

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When you are ready to begin making dinner the next day, Take the steak out of the fridge (leaving it in the marinade) and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This allows the steak to relax a bit and the marinade to further penetrate.

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See how much darker it got. The enzymes in the marinade basically cooked it a little, breaking it down into a tender, delicious steak. Mmmmm.

Now you want to preheat your grill to medium high heat. Flank Steak is best served medium rare at the MOST so you'll want to basically sear the outside, while keeping the inside pink.

Once the grill is hot, place your steak on it.

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You should hear a sizzling sound. If not, remove the steak and turn the heat up a little.

Let the steak cook for about 2 minutes for a thinner steak, 3 if it's over an inch thick. Then flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

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Then you'll want to remove the steak to a platter and immediately cover. Let the steak sit for about 5 minutes to reabsorb all it's juices.

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Once rested, lay the steak on a clean cutting surface, grab you favorite knife and a a fork and begin cutting into thin, even slices.
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Your steak should be nice and brown on the outside and quite pink inside. If it's brown throughout, I am sorry but you have overcooked your steak. Bust out the A-1 and you shoule be ok.

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Onced sliced, serve with whatever side you like. I did a caprese salad because that's what I was in the mood for.

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The steak was tender and super flavorful and a nice foil for the summery salad. I dare say we enjoyed our #$4 grilled flank steak every bit as much as we would have a filet mignon because with a little more prep work, it was tender and juicy.

So the next time you are food shoppng, give the flank steak a try! If you take care of it, it will take care of you.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Um, yeah. I'll be making this. I love a good marinade!