Wednesday, March 3, 2010

OMG a Recipe: Steak Dinner Sealed With a KISS

KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid! Does anyone remember that saying? I think I heard it in school from a teacher, before the dreaded PC Police swooped in and oversensitized everything, erasing "Stupid" from the vocabulary. But it was a good mnemonic device to always remind one to stick to the basics, because sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the details. I was cooking with a friend who wanted something really simple to make for an at-home dinner for visiting guests. The KISS-friendly meal resulted in a Marinated Seared Flank Steak, Rosemary Potatoes and Crispy Broccoli.

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)

For Potatoes:
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.

For Broccoli:
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

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  1. very simple marinate, but super flavourful i bet!

  2. Your steak is always perfectly cook. It's a beautiful and simple dish.

  3. Ah, delicious! Funny also because this is nearly identical to a dinner I had last night at a restaurant, only they served kale instead of broccoli. I totally agree that it's a wonderful thing to have different kinds of friends, including a few who aren't quite as food-obsessed as we are!

  4. From one steak lover to another: YUM!!!

  5. Hahahaha! My dad used to say that to me! He also favored saying, "Keep your nose clean" too. He had quite a way with words. When it comes to putting good food on the table I do believe this principle can be a good one to follow.

  6. I love this post- you are so right that cooking with others can often put things into perspective. My husband often reminds me that if he were reading a recipe, he wouldn't understand terms like "a handful" or "a pinch". He needs specifics! Your steak dinner looks excellent- love the photos!

  7. This is simple at its best! Flank steak soaks in flavors so well and couldn't be easier to cook. Your marinade looks easy and delicious. I usually add a little vinegar to marinades as they help with tenderizing the meat.

  8. Mmmmm- flank steak makes me think of summer grilling! Thanks for bringing a little warmth to our still chilly Spring in Tokyo!

  9. Love the steak! Looks like it's rare to medium rare. hmmm so yummy!

  10. I think people need a little reminder about the things they can pull together for a delicious, healthy meal after a busy day.
    This post is the kind of motivation that will get anyone excited to get cooking in the kitchen with flavor like this!


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