A couple of months ago my husband and I decided that we needed to cut back on red meat and enter more vegetables, fruits, and fish into our diets. I have always been a meat eater but am surprised at how much I actually do miss eating it several times a week. I thought it would be refreshing to enter more “light” colored things into our main meals like chicken and fish. I suppose it is more refreshing, and certainly healthier to cut back on the amount of red meat we consume, but not nearly as flavorful or satisfying in some ways. I mean honestly, unless you’re a vegan, who can turn down an excellent medium-rare steak? Not I.
Flank steak is such an easy piece of meat to prepare. Marinate it all day, place it on a hot grill and in a matter of 15 minutes it’s done. Sliced thinly, it’s juicy, flavorful, and tender. However, it’s not cheap. Which is weird, because every single time I see someone cooking with one on Food Network they are always commenting about what a great buy it is because it’s so cheap. I’m sorry, but in my mind, $8.99 a pound is not cheap for a piece of meat that is tougher than leather unless you know how to marinate it and grill it properly. So, for a 2.83 pound slab of meat, I paid $25.44. I mean, that’s not much less than what you pay per pound for gorgeous rib-eye steaks. A 2.5 to 3 lb. flank steak feeds three of us just fine, usually with enough leftovers for lunch the next day. But if you have a family of more than four, you’re looking at a pretty big expense. So wake up Food Network, flank steak is no longer a “cheap” cut of meat. But…if you can swing it, it’s worth every bite.
Flank Steak Dinner Ingredients
1 Flank Steak
Garlic, chopped, about 3 cloves for the steak marinade, 2 cloves for the potatoes, and 1 clove for the salad dressing
Rice Vinegar, for marinade and salad dressing
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
2 Pieces of Good Bacon, crumbled, save bacon grease for the potatoes later…it’s worth it
About 4-6 Cups of Spinach Leaves, depending on how many people are eating
1 Large Tomato, diced
About 1/4 Red Onion, sliced thinly
A Pinch of Dried Oregano and Basil
Olive Oil, for salad dressing
About 4 Medium Red Potatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
About 2 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme and Oregano, chopped finely, for potatoes
*Step 1 can be done in the morning before you get started with your day. The beef doesn’t have to marinate all day. It is much more tender when it has been marinating for at least four hours.
Place flank steak in a zip lock bag. Pour in about 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, about 3 chopped garlic cloves, and about 1/2 cup of rice vinegar. (You can choose to marinate with all kinds of different seasonings and sauces, it’s up to you. Just make sure that you include an acid of some kind…lemon juice, vinegar, wine, etc.) Zip the bag up, massage the seasonings and sauces around on the meat and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.
Hard Boil 2 Eggs, refrigerate.
Fry 2 Pieces of Good Bacon, crumble and refrigerate.
(Two for the salad and one for me and the dogs, of course!)
Place spinach in a large bowl and add chopped tomatoes and thinly sliced onions, cover and refrigerate.
In a glass measuring cup, add 1/8 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Add about 1 tsp. chopped garlic, a pinch of dried basil and a pinch of dried oregano. Season with 1 or 2 grinds of sea salt and a few grinds of pepper. (Sometimes I like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar to it also), cover and refrigerate.
When you’re ready to start preparing dinner, take the marinating steak out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter until you’re ready to grill it.
Slice the potatoes and onions, chop the garlic and herbs for the potatoes.
Place the bacon fat in frying pan and heat on medium. Add potatoes and onions to frying pan and cook until potatoes are just about done (raw potatoes take a bit to cook until tender, about 30 minutes or so). Pre-heat the gas grill, medium-medium high (this kind of depends on your grill). Add garlic and herbs to potatoes and continue cooking until done.
Place flank steak on hot grates and grill for about 7-8 minutes on each side. This will depend on how you like your meat, I like mine probably more on the rare side of medium-rare. Also, only flip the meat once, and use tongs not a fork so you don’t lose any of the juices. When the steak is done to your preference (any further than medium rare…maybe a little toward medium, but not much and your steak will be tough). One end is also usually thinner than the other, so be mindful of that. That feature works in your favor when there are people at your table who like their steaks done differently. Remove from grill, cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest on the counter while you prepare the salad.
Heat the salad dressing in the microwave for about 30 seconds. I use a mini emulsifier to whip up the liquids but if you don’t have one, just place it in a small bowl and whisk until the oil and vinegar come together a bit for pouring. Slice the egg and place the egg and bacon on the spinach leaves, pour the dressing over and toss the salad carefully.
Slice the steak thinly along the diagonal (against the grain).
Place the meat on a serving dish and make sure you pour the juices from cutting over the top. Serve with herb and garlic potatoes and spinach salad.