I should be packing, but pretty much anything sounds better to me right now. I loathe packing. Usually I require a full glass of wine to get it done which almost always results in a few surprises on the other end of my journey. Luckily for me, this time I'll only be throwing a couple outfits, a toothbrush, and the book I've been trying to finish for months in my carry-on and calling it a day. There are perks to visiting your sis.
My little sis just had her first baby which means I'll be hopping on a small, noisy plane out of O'hare and making the quick flight down to Chattanooga to snuggle my newest nephew. I couldn't be more excited...and anxious. This will be my first time leaving Little Man, and while I know he is in good hands, I'm still a ball of nerves. I wish there was some way to assure him I'll be back in a few days and that Daddy won't forget to read Peek-a Who? at least three times before bed. It's times like this that I'm so grateful for technology and video chat.
During my visit, I'll be trying to earn my keep by making a ton of food. I'm already seeing a lot of lasagnas and other freezer-friendly meals in my future. For dinners while I'm there, however, I'm trying to think of summer dishes like this one, that seem indulgent yet light and fresh at the same time. Our grill has been seeing a lot of us this summer, but I think it was especially pleased when meeting this line-up of ingredients this past week.
Ever since taking a Latin cuisine course in culinary school, I consider it blasphemous to eat flank steak with anything other than chimichurri, an Argentinian vinaigrette of sorts made from fresh flat-leaf parsley, oregano, garlic, and red pepper. It's bright and spicy and tangy and somehow the perfect complement to grilled beef. There's really nothing like it. Manchego is a sheep's milk cheese and is the best option for this dish in my opinion, but you could also substitute Pecorino Romano or Parmesan if you can't find it.
Have fun with this and don't worry too much about amounts. You can also play with the salad toppings to suit your individual taste. We enjoyed this with a light glass of Pinot Noir, but a spicy Syrah or Malbec would work nicely too.
Marinated Flank Steak Salad with Chimichurri Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 servings
1.5 - 2 lbs. flank steak
mixed salad greens, any type
2-3 ears of fresh corn, husked
tomatoes, any variety, halved or quartered
1 red onion, cut into wedges with root end intact
3-4 oz Manchego, Pecorino Romano, or Parmesan cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup (4 fl oz. beer, I prefer pale ale or IPA)
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup canola oil
2 handfuls (about 3 oz) flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- The night before or at least 6 hours in advance, whisk together all marinade ingredients, and pour into a gallon size plastic storage bag. Add the flank steak, push out the air, and seal tightly. Refrigerate.
- When ready to start cooking: preheat grill to high heat, about 500-600 F.
- Combine all ingredients for chimichurri and set aside.
- Brush corn and onions with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Remove flank steak from marinade and sprinkle with salt.
- Place the flank steak, corn, and onions on the hot grill. Close lid and cook everything for about 3-4 minutes.
- Open lid and rotate corn and onions. Close lid and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Open lid and remove corn and onions. Flip flank steak, close lid, and cook another 3-4 minutes for medium rare.
- Open lid and remove steak. Let rest for five minutes.
- Use a serrated knife to cut off the corn kernels from the ears.
- Assemble salads with mixed greens, corn, tomatoes, onions, and manchego cheese.
- Slice the flank steak against the grain and lay strips of steak over the top of the salads.
- Drizzle salads with chimichurri and enjoy.
- Steaks like flank steak are best cooked at a very hot temperature for a short amount of time. Try to keep as much heat in the grill as possible by keeping the lid shut as much as possible during the cooking process.
- If you have leftover steak, don't slice it up...keep it whole and refrigerate. When ready to reheat, don't microwave. Use a saute pan to sear the steak for a few minutes on each side. This will keep the middle pink and tender.
- Chimichurri should keep in the fridge for up to a week.