This dish borrows some of the flavors of Greek moussaka for a quick-one pan meal. Seared flank steak is finished with a wonderful 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.
Prep is pretty easy because there is no need to peel the eggplant, canned tomatoes are used, and the feta cheese is already crumbled; not to mention it all happens in one skillet.
To keep the eggplant from drying out so that the pieces become silky-soft, don’t drain the juices from the tomatoes—the liquid helps form the sauce. When slicing the flank steak for serving, make sure to slice it against the grain for the tenderest texture.
1½ lbs. flank steak, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then crosswise
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks
14½ oz. can diced tomatoes, (don’t drain, save the juices)
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, flipping the pieces once. Transfer to a plate.
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.
Occasionally, when grocery shopping, we come across great meat prices, so we buy what strikes our fancy with the intention of vacuum-sealing and storing in one of our freezers until a future date. It dawned on us we could never remember exactly what we bought and where it was stored, so we started writing a list. Well, that hand-written list became messy and hard to decipher so then we had the brilliant idea to keep an Excel spreadsheet and share it on One Drive so that it can be accessed from any of our devices.
For the most part, it’s been a tremendous aid, until we neglect to delete items that we’ve already used. I’m telling you this because that’s exactly what happened for this meal. The day before we planned on cooking it, I went to retrieve the flank steak from the downstairs freezer, which is where the Excel file said it was, and couldn’t find it, nor could The Hubs.
But Excel also indicated we had two packages of flap meat, which actually happens to be more to our liking than flank steak. So yes, you guessed it, we did use the flap meat for this recipe—and removed it from the Freezer Inventory database.
Here, the steak and sweet potatoes share a spice rub, but they are cooked separately. The steak is sear-roasted in a screaming-hot skillet, then finished in a moderate oven. Molly Stevens author of the original recipe, suggests leaving the skin on the sweet potatoes to obtain a textural contrast with the smooth insides and rugged skin. We chose otherwise.
Rubbing the steak ahead of time and leaving uncovered in the fridge for 2-12 hours, allows the the spice rub to works its magic in keeping the meat juicy, and it also gives the flavors time to penetrate and enhance the taste of the steak.
The smoky-spicy aioli is fabulous when drizzled over both the potatoes and steak bringing it all together. We made a note in the cookbook to double the aioli next time—it’s that good! A simple side salad completed the meal and added that fresh component.
Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak and Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Aioli
1⁄2 tsp. canned chipotle in adobo, minced; plus 1⁄2 tsp. adobo sauce from can
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1⁄3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Combine paprika, cumin, chili powder, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a small bowl. Divide the mixture in half.
With the steak on a platter, sprinkle half of the spice mixture all over the steak, rubbing it into the meat. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 2 hours, and up to 12 hours.
Combine the chipotle, adobo sauce, garlic and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and mash to a paste with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the mayonnaise and olive oil. Add the lime juice, stir and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the oven to 400°.
Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise in half and then into wedges that are about 1-inch across at their widest part. If any of them are 6 inches or more, cut them in half. Put them on a rimed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil, and toss to coat. Season with the remaining spice rub and toss again. Spread out in a single layer.
Roast in preheated oven until tender, about 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
After the sweet potatoes have roasted for about 20 minutes, heat a large ovenproof skillet, such as cast iron, until very hot. Coat with the remaining tablespoon of oil and sear the steak until well-browned on the first side, about 1 1⁄2 minutes. Flip and brown the second side for another 2 minutes.
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare (120° to 125°); 7 to 9 minutes for medium (125° to 130°).
If the potatoes are done before the steak, let them sit at room temperature, or leave them in the oven with the temperature turned off. Do not cover with foil or they will steam and turn soggy.
Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Thinly slice the steak against the grain (if using flap meat, serves in large chunks). Serve the sweet potatoes along side, spooning a little aioli over everything. Pass any extra aioli around the table.
This Asian steak entrée gets loads of complexity from just a spoonful or two of flavor powerhouses like fresh ginger, peanut oil, and Asian chili paste, like sambal oelek—an Indonesian chile that adds a nice level of heat and a hint of sweetness to the quick stir-fry.
You definitely want to blister those beans, so keep stirring for 5-plus minutes over a very hot burner. Then when it’s time to cook the meat, it’s best to do so in two batches so as to sear the steak instead of steaming it.
4 green onions (white parts only), sliced diagonally
2 Tbsp. sweet rice wine (mirin)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. Asian chili paste (sambal oelek)
Sesame seeds, toasted; hot cooked rice; snipped fresh herbs; chopped green onion (optional)
Steamed rice according to package directions
If desired, trim and cut green beans in half diagonally.
Trim fat from meat. Thinly slice meat across the grain into bite-size strips.
In a small bowl combine garlic and ginger.
In an extra-large skillet or wok heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil over medium-high heat. Add green beans; cook and stir 7 to 8 minutes or until blistered and brown in spots. Remove beans and drain on paper towels.
If necessary, add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to hot skillet. Add garlic mixture; cook and stir 30 seconds.
Add meat, half at a time; cook and stir 3 minutes or until slightly pink in center. Return all of the meat to skillet. Add the next five ingredients (through chili paste); cook and stir 1 minute.
Return beans; cook and stir 2 minutes more or until heated through.
If desired, sprinkle meat mixture with sesame seeds and/or serve with rice sprinkled with herbs, chopped green onion, and/or coarse salt.
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.
It was a dead heat as to whether the main entrée, Steak Diane, or our accompaniment, Roasted Carrots with Blood Orange and Rosemary, should take top billing.This version of Steak Diane, classically made with filet mignon, uses a more reasonably-priced flank steak. The beefier profile of the cut holds its own against a daring sauce that highlights cognac, sherry, Worcestershire sauce, and flavorful herbs—no complaints here!
Our “24-Carrot-Gold” side dish, were a perfect “10”. Roasting the slender veggies whole gives this easy sidekick a dressy feel—as does using blood oranges (regular ones work too, but lack the pizazz.) And that final embellishment of a maple syrup drizzle halfway through roasting, renders a wonderful caramelization to the underside that takes the root veggies to a higher level, guaranteeing a spot in your top ten accompaniments of all time. (Make sure to buy the young tender carrots with the greens still intact.)
As far as the instructions, we did not change a thing for either dish, nor did we a year ago when we made the steak and carrots the first time, so it’s a safe bet to follow the recipes as written—an ideal dinner for two: romantically luxurious and indulgent. I mentioned back then, that Valentines was around the corner, it already came and went this year, but doesn’t mean you have to wait until next year to treat yourself…
2 oz. (4 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives
2 Tbs. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, more to taste
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
Pat the steak dry and season generously with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof heavy-duty 12-inch skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the oil over high heat until shimmering hot, about 2 minutes. Brown the steak on both sides, about 4 minutes total.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 135°F, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the steak to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour off the fat in the skillet (be careful of the hot handle). Set the skillet over medium heat, add the shallot, sherry, Cognac, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula to release any browned bits, until the sauce is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.
Lower the heat to low, add the chicken broth, butter, chives, and parsley and whisk, swirling the pan occasionally, to emulsify the butter; the sauce should look creamy. Remove from the heat, whisk in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice.
Cut the steak in half with the grain, then slice the meat on the diagonal across the grain into 1/8-inch slices. Serve with the sauce.
1-1/2 lb. slender carrots, peeled and trimmed, leaving an inch of greens at the top if possible
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 medium blood orange or regular orange; zest finely grated and juice squeezed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Tbs. fresh rosemary leaves
1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
Heat the oven to 425°F.
Arrange the carrots in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, and orange zest. Pour over the carrots and toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Pour the orange juice around the carrots. Top with the rosemary. Cover tightly with foil and roast until the carrots are nearly tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Uncover, drizzle with the maple syrup, and roast, uncovered, until tender and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Gently toss, season to taste with salt, and serve.