Our vegetable garden was brimming with an assortment of aromatic herbs and one of them that exploded recently was the tarragon. We often pair tarragon with chicken but thought perhaps steak might make a good companion for a change.
Never used tarragon? It is a leafy green herb that is highly aromatic with a subtle licorice flavor. It adds a fresh, spring taste and a bit of elegance to a variety of recipes, including salad dressings, sauces, fish, chicken, and in this case, a steak dish. In France, it is referred to as “the king of herbs” because of its ability to elevate a dish, and is one of the four herbs in the French mixture fines herbes, a combination of parsley, tarragon, chervil, and chives.
While the cooking time for this recipe is minimal, you want to make sure you leave ample time to marinate the meat so that it gets all happy in those flavors of mustard, white wine, scallions and of course, tarragon.
From mid- to late-summer we often pair our grilled entrées with fresh picked corn and locally grown tomatoes, and this was no exception. The basil was just plucked from our herb garden for the caprese salad, which is also where the tarragon came from.
1/4 cup mustard (Dijon or grainy Dijon mustard work really well for this)
3 scallions, chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra for garnish
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
Combine oil, wine, mustard, scallions and chopped tarragon in a zipper plastic bag. Add steak, seal bag and rotate until steak is coated.
Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours and up to overnight, turning the bag over occasionally.
Heat grill to high. Reserve some marinade for basting, discard the rest. Grill steak for 5 minutes per side for medium rare, 125° on an instant-read thermometer.
Rest steak on a moated carving board under foil for 10 minutes (don’t skip this step) and then thinly slice at an angle and against the grain. Arrange on a platter and drizzle any accumulated juices over meat. Serve at once.
Don’t you just love one-pan meals? Here’s one from Milk Street that borrowed some of the flavors of Greek moussaka. Although a traditional Greek Moussaka recipe has luscious layers of juicy ground beef or lamb cooked in a tomato based sauce, layered with sweet eggplants and potatoes, topped off with a creamy béchamel sauce and baked until perfectly golden, this a fantastic riff.
Here, seared flank steak is finished with a rustic sauce-like side of eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Crumbled feta cheese adds briny notes that contrast nicely with the sweetness of the vegetables and the richness of the beef. Crusty bread, rice or potatoes are good side dish choices if you’re not counting carbs.
We had both flank steak and flap meat in our freezer, and, you guessed it, I did’t realize until after the meat had thawed that I removed flap steaks. Both started with “fla” and that is all that I saw on the package so I’m giving myself an out that it was an easy mistake. In fact, since we prefer the beefy taste of flap meat, it was serendipitous! Please note that flap meat needs an extra couple of minutes in the pan to reach temperature.
Keep in mind, you don’t want to drain the juices from the tomatoes. The liquid helps form the sauce and prevents the eggplant from drying out so that the pieces become silky-soft. When slicing the flank steak for serving, make sure to slice it against the grain for the tenderest texture.
Absolutely delicious! We could wax poetic for days on what a wonderful dish it was!
recipe title=”Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragu” servings=”4″ time=”35 min” difficulty=”easy”]
1½ lbs. flank steak or flap meat, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then crosswise
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1b. eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks
14½ oz. can diced tomatoes
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup lightly packed fresh mint, chopped
1½ oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about ⅓ cup)
Season the steak with salt and pepper. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the steak and brown on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total (8-10 minutes for flap meat), flipping the pieces once. An instant-read thermometer should show 125° for medium-rare. Transfer to a moated cutting board and cover with foil.
In the same pan over medium-high, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the eggplant and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, 5 to 6 minutes.
Reduce to medium and add the tomatoes with juices, the garlic, oregano and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the eggplant has begun to break down, about 5 minutes.
Off heat, stir in any accumulated beef juices and half the mint. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Thinly slice the steak against the grain and place on a platter. Spoon the eggplant mixture on and around the steak, then sprinkle with feta and the remaining mint.
If you’re not familiar with Beef Braciole(I had never heard of it until I moved out East in my early twenties),it’s a classic Italian dish with many variations. It can be made with thin, individual slices of beef such as round or as one large roll using flank steak. It can also be made with pork and it always has a savory filling. But first, get the pronunciation right: [brah-chee-oh-ley, brah-choh-; Italian brah-chaw-le].
For this take on stuffed beef rolls, Cook’s Illustrated chose flank steak rather than top or bottom round because its loose grain makes it easier to pound thin and its higher fat content means that it emerges from the oven tender and moist. And that it did!
This filling is on the bold side, with the inclusion of umami-rich ingredients such as prosciutto; anchovies; and fontina, a good melter that also brings much-needed fat to the dish. In addition, a gremolata-inspired mix added to the filling provides a jolt of flavor and freshness. Right up our alley! Finally, beef broth is added to the tomato sauce to integrate the beef and the sauce into a unified whole.
This is not your quick weeknight meal. It takes the better part of 4 to 5 hours before you will be serving it on the dinner table, so plan accordingly.
And below is a bonus Roasted Broccoli Rabe recipe to accompany the main dish; this recipe hailing from Milk Street. It takes about 30 minutes max, so you can make it just as the braciole is getting done.
NOTES: Before you begin, cut sixteen 10-inch lengths of kitchen twine. You can substitute sharp provolone for the fontina, if desired. For the most tender braciole, be sure to roll the meat so that the grain runs parallel to the length of the roll. Serve the braciole and sauce together, with pasta or polenta, or separately, as a pasta course with the sauce followed by the meat.
⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
⅓ cup plain dried bread crumbs
3 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (3⁄4 cup)
1 (2- to 2½-pound) flank steak
8 thin slices prosciutto
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 large onion, chopped fine
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup tomato paste
¾ cup dry red wine
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
Your choice of pasta, optional
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Stir 3 tablespoons oil, half of garlic, lemon zest, and anchovies together in medium bowl. Add ⅓ cup basil, parsley, Pecorino, and bread crumbs and stir to incorporate. Stir in fontina until evenly distributed and set aside filling.
Halve steak against grain to create 2 smaller steaks. Lay 1 steak on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge. Holding blade of chef’s knife parallel to counter, halve steak horizontally to create 2 thin pieces. Repeat with remaining steak.
Cover 1 piece with plastic wrap and, using meat pounder, flatten into rough rectangle measuring no more than ¼ inch thick. Repeat pounding with remaining 3 pieces. Cut each piece in half, with grain, to create total of 8 pieces.
Lay 4 pieces on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge (if 1 side is shorter than the other, place shorter side closer to you). Distribute half of filling evenly over pieces. Top filling on each piece with 1 slice of prosciutto, folding to fit, and press firmly. Keeping filling in place, roll each piece away from you to form tight log. Tie each roll with 2 pieces kitchen twine to secure. Repeat process with remaining steak pieces, filling, and prosciutto. Sprinkle rolls on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown rolls on 2 sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer rolls to plate.
Add onion to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in pepper flakes and remaining garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook until slightly darkened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Return rolls to pot; bring to simmer. Add parchment paper to cover the entire pot opening, then cover tightly and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is fork-tender, 2½ to 3 hours, using tongs to flip rolls halfway through braising.
Transfer braciole to serving dish and discard twine. If there is a lot of fat on the surface of the sauce, skim off as much as you can with a large spoon.
Meanwhile, if serving pasta, cook according to package directions.
TIP: If your sauce reduced too much (ours did), add up to a cup of the pasta water to thin it. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons basil into tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over braciole and serve, passing extra Pecorino separately.
Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes
The high heat renders the stems and florets tender while the leaves crisp around the edges, like kale chips with a spicy broccoli bite. Make sure not crowd the pan or everything will steam rather than roast. In the end, they may not look real pretty, but they are fantastic in the taste category!
If possible, use whole toasted fennel seed then grind it down yourself either with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. There was a sweet-and-sour mint dressing that was also part of this recipe, but we omitted it. And in a word, the rabe was “Delish!”
Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes
This summery dinner salad is perfect for the dog days of August. While the list of ingredients may seem a bit lengthy, the salsa verde made with scallions, mint, cilantro (or parsley), capers and garlic becomes the marinade for both the steak and the dressing for the greens. A win-win in my book. If you’re following a low-carb diet, this baby is for you.
This meal was one of our Cape Cod vacation dinners for the two of us. (So yes, we had leftovers, yeah!) The NYTimes recipe originally called for skirt steak, but the local grocery store wasn’t carrying any—instead they had some beautiful flank steaks, a perfect substitute.
We also took it upon ourselves to grill the romaine quarters, even though the original recipe didn’t include this step. Slightly charring the romaine, which was brushed all over with olive oil, added an inviting addition to the flavor profile. And what the heck, the grill was still hot and the meat had to rest, after all…
And because when you are in vacation mode and need to adapt without fuss, we used cilantro in place of parsley, because, well, that’s what we had on hand and didn’t feel like making an extra trip to the supermarket. Some folks can’t stomach cilantro, so parsley is your best alternative. We happen to love the herb.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for romaine
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 romaine hearts
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
If necessary, cut the steak crosswise into large pieces that will fit into a shallow, nonreactive dish such as glass. Transfer steak(s) to dish.
In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, scallions, capers, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour about 1/3 of dressing over the steak and turn to coat both sides.
Add the cilantro (or parsley) and 1 tablespoon mint to the reserved dressing, stir, and set aside until ready to use. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3o minutes and up to 24 hours. (If marinating overnight, cover and refrigerate the reserved dressing.)
In a small sauté pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, tossing often, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Set the grill to medium-high heat. Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and grill 3 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare, 125°. Check with an instant read thermometer.
Transfer tp a plate, sprinkle with salt, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the romaine hearts into quarters. Brush all over with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Grill for a total of 5 minutes, turning once to char both sides lightly.
Arrange romaine in one layer on a large platter, leaving room in the middle for the steaks.
Slice the steak into 3″ pieces, then slice against the grain to cut the steak into wide strips. Place in center of platter pouring any accumulated juices over the meat.
Sprinkle feta, pine nuts and remaining 1 tablespoon of mint over the romaine.
Arrange the sliced steak on the platter, drizzle with reserved dressing over steak and lettuce. Serve immediately.
One of, if not THE, most popular posts on this blog over the course of its 6 1/2 year history is this Flank Steak Pinwheel Lollipops recipe. In the past month alone it garnered over 17,000 impressions on my Pinterest Board Casa “H” Culinary Creations! Even though they may look complicated in structure, they’re not, and folks love them, as did our recent dinner guests Pat and Charlie.
To start the evening, Pat and Charlie (shown below), brought a lovely shrimp appetizer with two dips. One was a spicy homemade cocktail sauce; and the other an unusual combination that Charlie said at first tasted like spackle. Not so in the end. Apparently they were trying to find an avocado dip but after visiting numerous stores, only found a quasi avocado/spinach combo. Thanks to some clever additions, their concoction ended up being quite tasty indeed.
Can’t have a summer BBQ without a couple of good side dishes, and what screams summer more than fresh corn and tomatoes? I’ve included the Summer Sweet Corn Sauté recipe below. It couldn’t be more simple, is super quick, and oh so tasty. And if you’ve never had a Caprese Salad with heirloom tomatoes, I urge you to whip one together real soon.
Back to that main entrée. It is difficult to find a large enough, 2 to 2 1/2 pound, flank steak. Do yourself a favor and call the butcher several days ahead of time and reserve one. Even doing so, the largest I could get was just over 2 pounds, but it sufficed to feed four people with one lollipop left over.
To get the filling to stay put in the stuffed flank steak, first freeze the meat for about 30-45 minutes, butterfly the steak, then split it horizontally and open it like a book. Use a food mallet to pound it down to an even thickness, being careful not to tear holes in it. Once stuffed and rolled, the meat holds up well on the grill when you use both skewers and twine to secure the layers.
Don’t break a sweat if some of the wooden skewers catch fire while grilling, ours did and we had soaked them all day! Just blow out the flames as needed. You’ll be removing them and the twine before you serve your guests anyway.
Grilled and Stuffed Flank Steak Pinwheel Lollipops
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley leaves, finely minced
1 tsp. sage leaves, finely minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for oiling grate
1 flank steak (2- to 2 ½-pounds)
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
4 oz. thinly sliced provolone
8 – 12 skewers soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Combine garlic, shallot, parsley, sage, and olive oil in small bowl. Butterfly and pound flank steak into rough rectangle.
With steak positioned so that grain runs parallel to edge of counter and opened side faces up, spread herb mixture evenly over surface of steak. Lay prosciutto evenly over steak, leaving 2-inch border along top edge. Cover prosciutto with even layer of cheese, leaving 2-inch border along top edge.
Starting from bottom edge and rolling away from you, roll beef into tight log and place on cutting board seam-side down.
Starting ½ inch from end of rolled steak, evenly space 8 to twelve 14-inch pieces of butcher’s twine at 1-inch intervals underneath steak. Tie middle string first; then working from outermost strings toward center, tightly tie roll and turn tied steak 90 degrees so seam is facing you.
Skewer beef directly through outermost flap of steak near seam through each piece of string, allowing skewer to extend ½ inch on opposite side. Using chef’s knife, slice roll between pieces of twine into 1 1/4 inch thick pinwheels. Season pinwheels lightly with kosher salt and black pepper.
Turn all burners to high and heat with lid down until very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).
Grill pinwheels directly over hot side of grill until well browned, 3 to 6 minutes. Using tongs, flip pinwheels; grill until second side is well browned, 3 to 5 minutes longer.
Transfer pinwheels to cooler side of grill, cover, and continue to cook until center of pinwheels registers 125 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 1 to 4 minutes (slightly thinner pinwheels may not need time on cooler side of grill).
Transfer pinwheels to large plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Remove and discard skewers and twine and serve immediately.
Why did I never think of this before? Fajita Quesadilla—a win-win! In this case with red meat, but you could also substitute chicken, fish and/or other veggies. This particular combo, sizzling spiced steak, onions and peppers paired with gooey cheese certainly got my attention. We dubbed them QUESAJITAS.
It was our first dinner party since we began the COVID lockdown the beginning of March (if you can call four people a party—but then, I can be a party of one!) And to be honest, it was the first warm, dry weekend we’ve had since the spring season began; so we were beyond ready for some socialization—that included of course, great food and adult beverages.
We were well on our way in prepping everything in the morning, when unexpectedly our kitchen touch-faucet went on the blink. 3 1/2 hours later, without success in getting the automatic touch feature to work, The Hubs disconnected it—but at least got it to work manually.
Now back to that party. What’s nice about this recipe, and our side of Purple Tex-Mex Slaw, is that all of the prep can be done ahead of time. So you’ll only be standing in front of the stove, or over a grill for an abbreviated period of time. Lucky for us, we had enough leftover for the two of us for lunch a couple of days later. This recipe can easily be cut in half.
And because I’m feeling generous today, I’ll throw in my famous Holy-Moley Lynn’s Great Guacamole recipe. It’s chunky style and packed with fabulous flavor while providing a perfect accompaniment for those Quesajitas!
Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and Mexican hot sauce, for serving
In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 2 tsp. salt. Rub the steak all over with the spice mixture. It’s best to do this a few hours ahead of time if possible.
Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, or alternatively, heat an oiled grill to medium high (400°F to 475°F). Cook the steak, flipping once, until rare, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain. Repeat if necessary with another steak.
Return the pan to the heat, and add more oil if dry. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan, season generously with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the peppers are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels; set aside.
Put the tortillas on a work surface. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cheese over half of each tortilla. Evenly divide the steak and vegetables over the cheese.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the steak and vegetables. Fold each tortilla in half so that the empty side covers the filling.
Heat 1 tsp. of the oil in the skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add 2-3 of the quesadillas, and cook until golden-brown and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer to a clean cutting board, and then repeat with the remaining oil and quesadillas in as many batches as necessary. Cut the quesadillas into wedges, and serve with the salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and/or hot sauce.