|Meat n' potatoes - what could be simpler? Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I'm truly thankful to have friends with a wide variety of interests and hobbies. I'm especially thankful for ones who don't give a crap that I write a food blog, because while they like eating at restaurants and enjoying good meals, they don't do much cooking at home, and it's an excellent realignment of perspective. It's good to work out a recipe with someone who doesn't do much cooking because it's a reminder to slow down, take the time to measure, and keep ingredient lists simple. At the end of the day, cooking feels like work to many, and the only way to encourage people to get cookin' is to make it accessible and relatively effortless. But of course the greatest incentive is tasty nomz!
The thoughts behind the meal were: basic ingredient list, short prep time, and using red meat helps resolve the whole "is it done yet?" issue with cooking, since you can eat it rare. We prepped the things needing the most time first, making a marinade for the flank steak and letting it sit in the refrigerator to soak up the flavor. Potatoes and broccoli were washed and left to dry. An hour before dinnertime, we chopped the potatoes down, tossing in olive oil and seasonings, and let the oven start working on them. Removing the flank steak from the fridge, it was patted dry and seared in a pan until medium rare. While the meat rested, the potatoes were removed and broccoli was seasoned and placed under the broiler to crisp up under the high heat. The steak was thinly-sliced, potatoes were still warm, and the broccoli had a nice smoky char on its florets, creating a simple, quick meal that was good for weeknight time frames as well as serving to guests. If this isn't a KISS-friendly meal for those dreading a turn in the kitchen, I don't know what is!
Marinated Flank Steak
(serves four, if paired w/ sides)
1 flank steak
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 sprigs of rosemary, bruised w/ blunt end of knife (to release oils, but left whole for easy removal)
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon of sugar
salt and pepper for cooking
canola or vegetable oil for cooking
Put the steak in a large freezer bag and add the soy sauce, bruised rosemary sprigs, oil and sugar. Seal bag and smoosh (sure, that's a technical term) the ingredients up, making sure the marinade is in contact with the meat. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight, if you can. Shift the bag periodically so the marinade can thoroughly coat and soak meat.
When ready to cook, preheat a large skillet on medium high. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry, removing as much of the rosemary leaves as possible -- this will prevent burning. Drizzle some canola oil into the pan, about 1-2 tablespoons, and then salt/pepper both sides of the dry flank steak before placing it into the hot/oiled pan. Let the meat sear for 6-8 minutes on one side, developing a nice caramelized crust before flipping the meat over to do the same on the opposite side. Use a meat thermometer to check the center doneness to your taste. When meat is cooked to your preference, remove from heat, cover with foil and let it rest for at least five minutes, to let juices redistribute themselves before slicing thinly, on the bias (against the grain).
Optional: make a sauce using the same pan that cooked the steak -- all the browned bits on the bottom is flavor! Turn up the burner to a medium-high heat and pour a quarter cup of soy sauce and three quarters cup of water into the pan and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up the bits to incorporate into the sauce. Lower the temperature to medium low and let the sauce reduce to a thickness that will coat the back of a spoon. Add salt/pepper to taste or a bit of sugar, if you want it on the sweeter side. Serve on the side or drizzled over the meat.
Easy Sides: Rosemary Potatoes and Crispy Broccoli
(serves as a side dish for four, if paired w/ main course)
4 to 6 medium-sized red skinned potatoes, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary (about 2 or 3 sprigs' worth of leaves)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chopped potatoes with oil, rosemary, salt and pepper to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and place in oven. Check around the ten minute mark, and if potatoes are starting to brown, use a spatula and turn them over, to ensure even browning. Once the potatoes are fork-tender, about twenty to thirty minutes, remove from oven and cover with foil to keep warm.
3 medium sized broccoli crowns, ends removed and cut down into long stalks
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Start broiler and set baking rack about a quarter of the way to the top of the broiler coil -- not right up against coils, just somewhat close. Toss the trimmed and cut broccoli pieces with the oil, salt, and pepper, and place evenly on a baking sheet. Place in oven on the top rack and keep a close eye on the broccoli. It should start turning a bright green and the florets will start to char with a little smoke, but don't set it on fire. Should only take five to seven minutes, if that, to cook the broccoli to a nice, crisp doneness. Remove from the broiler when the color is bright and the florets have a light, smoky char on them. Serve immediately.
|Basic flavor - it's magically delicious! Photos by Wasabi Prime|