Spicy Asian Marinated Flank Steak and Part 19January 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Asian, Beef, Dinner, Lunch, SRC | 63 Comments
Tags: cooking, flank steak, Ginger, grilled flank steak, Hoisin Sauce, marinated flank steak, Recipe, Sake, Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, Sriracha Sauce, Wine
Happy New Year! I always like to start the New Year with a BANG, and if you call the flu..make that the death of me flu, a BANG, then I guess I did. Remember that ear infection I was talking about Christmas Eve? That was a precursor to almost two weeks now of misery. I am one hot mama, and I’m not speaking in a aesthetic sense. I’m speaking in 102 Fahrenheit sense.
SO, my holiday consisted of bed rest and lots of fluids. Writing this post is not easy. I write a paragraph..take a break, lather, rinse, repeat.
OK..I’m back from one of my ‘rest’ breaks. Every year after the holidays, when I’m not sick..I crave two things immensely – lots of pasta, and steak. For this months Secret Recipe Club I was assigned the blog The Heritage Cook. I was thrilled..I love Jane’s blog and trying to decide on one recipe was like trying to decide what my new personal chef, Jacques Pepin, should make for me at each meal.
Only in my dreams.
I digress. Post holiday – I crave pasta and steak, and after seeing this Grilled Asian Marinated Flat Iron Steak on Jane’s blog, I put aside these Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars and this Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Walnut Crust and Creamy Chocolate Sauce for another day. I had to make this steak. Not only did the marinade sound terrific, but it contains an ingredient I’m quite fond of. Alright, that’s an understatement. An ingredient I love and have dabbled with more than a bit on this blog. Sriracha Sauce. Jane has a lot of mouth-watering, spicy recipes, like Crab Wontons with Screaming Hot Chile Sauce – (my kinda gal), but, again, I had to have this steak.
The steak, soaking up all of that delicious marinade.
I couldn’t find a decent flat-iron steak, so I went for the tough guy (what else is new..I like my meat like I like my men?), err..tough cut of beef – the underbelly of the cow. The meat that dares you to love me tender - flank steak.
There are three steps to making flank steak melt-in-your-mouth tender; 1. Marinate 2. Sear on a very hot grill or pan 3. Slice the steak against the grain. The grain (it looks like rows of lines) runs vertically up and down the length of the steak, so you cut across the grain horizontally, preferably thin and on the bias. If you love chewing on shoe leather, slice it along the grain.
Season generously with kosher salt and fresh black pepper for an amazing crust.
So…after a 12 hour soak in Jane’s marinade (I increased the amount of oil..and used dark sesame oil instead of vegetable oil), I cooked the steak in a grill pan on my little table top burner – the one I used after knee surgery, because I was too weak and woozy to stand at the stove. While the pan was heating up..I leaned back and closed my eyes. I figured I had time, since you want the pan smoking hot, to get a really good sear.
Well, this table top burner had more oomph than I realized. Within 2 minutes it was smoking like crazy. FIRE! OK, no fire, but I did yell that out when I saw all the smoke. I slapped the steak into the pan and it settled down like a baby with a pacifier. Despite almost burning my house down, I got a fantastic sear..a beautiful, grilled crust.
Somehow it feels wrong that near disaster produced a perfect crust on my steak…and it made me happy.
After letting it rest for 10 minutes..I starting slicing it. The knife was dull (shame on me), but I persevered because I was dying to taste it, get some photos and get back to bed – I had no energy to start sharpening knives. A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife – trust me. I cut the dickens out of my middle finger on my left hand. After wrapping it up in a paper towel, tightly, then slipping a latex glove on that hand, I continued to slice the steak for photos, using another somewhat dull knife, my finger stiff and throbbing. This is why my slices are raggedy and do not look like THIS.
Jane’s marinade was magnificent. The steak was super tender, like filet mignon, and loaded with flavor. I made a few small changes, like omitting the cornstarch, ummmm, adding 15 drops of Sriracha, a little more hoisin sauce and the sesame oil..but it’s basically the same.
If you get a chance, pop on over to Jane’s blog, The Heritage Cook. You’ll want to make just about everything! Oh, she also gives you gluten-free options for all of her recipes. Not too shabby, huh? Thank you for a great recipe, Jane!
Click on the blue frog below to see what my fellow Group A SRC’ers made from their assigned blogs!
Spicy Grilled Asian Flank Steak
Adapted from The Heritage Cook
1 to 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup dry white wine, dry vermouth or sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used light soy sauce because I salted the steak after marinating)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
5 to 15 drops Sriracha Sauce ( I used 15, of course)
2 tablespoons dark (toasted) sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
One 1 1/2 to 2 lb flank steak
kosher salt and black pepper
neutral oil..such as vegetable
1. Stir together all the ingredients for the marinade. If you’d like, score the top of the steak so the marinade seeps in..about 1 inch cuts apart. I didn’t do that, but, as Martha would say “It’s a good thing”. Place the flank steak in a ziplock bag or bowl, and pour the marinade over it. Seal or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours, no less than 2 hours.
2. Remove steak from marinade and blot completely dry. Do not rinse it! Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. If you’d like..boil down (reduce) the marinade to make a sauce.
3. Heat a grill pan or your outdoor grill until very hot. Oil (a neutral oil like vegetable) the grill pan when you can barely hold your hand over it for a few seconds. You want to see a little smoke. Season the steak generously with kosher salt and fresh, ground black pepper and slap it on the grill or grill pan. Let cook anywhere from 3-4 minutes per side (rare) to 6 or 7 minutes per side (well done). I cooked mine a little over 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Once it’s on the grill, do not move it until it’s time to turn it, so it forms a nice crust. If you want crisscross grill marks, move it once half way in between the cooking time for each side.
4. Remove the steak to a carving or cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. If you cut into it before that, you’ll lose a lot of the juices, so patience is key here. The steak will absorb it’s juices (basically suck them back in) during those 10 minutes – making it, well, extremely juicy.
5. Using a SHARP knife, slice the steak against the grain on the bias (diagonal). Top with chopped scallions and some of the reduced marinade (if you decided to boil it down for a sauce) and enjoy!
Now to part 19 of Bad Boy First Love. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, Part Ten is HERE, Part 11 is HERE, Part 12 is HERE, Part 13A is HERE, Part 13B is HERE, Part 14A is HERE, Part 14B is HERE , Part 15 is HERE, Part 16 is HERE , Part 17 is HERE and Part 18 is HERE.
My fingers were trembling a little as I dialed his number. I must have hung up three times before dialing through completely. The first ring was in. Caller ID..no turning back now.
He picked up on the second ring. “Hello?”
Was it my imagination or did he sound happy and excited? He probably had a new girlfriend, I thought, and was going to rush me off the phone.
But, that wasn’t the case.
“Hi” I said shyly
“How ya doin’?” he asked, then blurted out..”Wow, I was just thinking about you!”
“Really?” I replied as nonchalantly as I could bear. I wanted to ask what he was thinking about ‘me’, but refrained, I had to play it cool.
“Yeah, weird, huh?” He said with a grain of sweet sarcasm.
I took a deep breath and went for it.
“Listen, I’m flying home this weekend for a family thing, but I can’t find anyone to pick me up at the time my flight lands. Do you think you could give me a lift home?” I lied.
I was talking fast and my voice sounded weird, sort of like Minnie Mouse on speed. I cringed..waiting for the inevitable excuse as to why he couldn’t.
“Sure..I’d love to pick you up” he said softly. “Just give me all the info and I’ll be there.”
My heart swelled..but it was interspersed with nervous anxiety trying to deflate it as not get ahead of myself thinking maybe he wants me back?
I gave him all the info. Then he surprised me with sudden burst of ‘chatty’.
“How have you been? Did you have fun at spring break?” He asked.
I decided to continue to play it cool..I didn’t want a bit of my longing for him to seep through the receiver.
“I’ve been good, thank you. Spring break was fun, yes.” I answered, noticing my hand tremble a little as I reached for my bottled water to saturate my sudden cotton mouth.
“How’s school been?” He asked, carefully.
“Fine, thank you” I replied, politely and nonchalantly. This was tough.
Wow, how the roles had reversed. He was trying to get a conversation going while I played the phone hater.
I wanted to blurt out..I LOVE YOU..take me back, but I’d sooner have gouged my eye out with a fork than said that, if given the choice.
“OK, I guess I’ll see you Friday night then.” He said softly
“OK, see you then!” I exclaimed in a fake, overly grating ‘we’re just friends’ voice.
I felt the heat crawl up my neck. I was embarrassing myself.
I hung up quickly, slamming down the receiver like I was in a rush to be elsewhere. Part of the reason he broke up with me in the first place. Nice going!
Friday took forever to come. When it did, I woke up with nervous butterflies. It had been 7 weeks since he had shattered my heart. I was going to see him again tonight. Was I crazy? Why was I inflicting more pain on myself? I thought about calling him and cancelling the pick up, then decided maybe it was the closure I needed.
Once I was finished with classes for the day, I rushed back to the dorm to shower and get ready. Yep, you bet I went all out making sure I looked the best I could look without looking like I tried to look the best I could look. I even blew my hair dry upside-down because he liked it wavy and wild. I looked like my finger got stuck in an electrical socket while standing in a puddle, but that was okay, I probably would have even done that for him. As usually the case, I was pathetic..pathetically in love with a man who probably didn’t want me back. The thought chilled me.
A spritz of his favorite perfume, and I was ready to serve my heart and soul up on a platter.
Wait…not so fast, I must have hit the airplane bathroom about 5 times before take-off, during the flight, and after we landed..the very second the seat belt light went off, both times. I was flipping my hair, glossing my lips and standing on the freakin’ toilet seat, leaning forward, one hand against the bathroom door to steady myself, then twisting to make sure my butt didn’t look fat. If there was a hidden camera in the bathroom, the flight crew would have had a good laugh because I was twisting my body in ways that defied human nature aka monkey.
I also practiced what I was going to say to him the minute I first saw him. Scratch that..I knew I was going to say “Hi”, so I stood in front of the mirror testing “Hi” with a bunch of different looks.
“Hi”, with a cold look. “Hi”, with a nonchalant look, “Hi” with a huge ‘friendly’ smile to make him think I was over him and had moved on.
I couldn’t believe I was going to these lengths. I couldn’t believe how nervous I was.
I made my way off the plane, walking fast, but slowing down when I got to the concourse. I didn’t want him to see me rushing, I wanted to appear as cool as a cucumber, although I felt more like a hot and sour pickle. With a few finger combs and doofy ‘fluffs’ through my hair, I made my way to the main terminal, knowing exactly where he would be. Sure enough, there he was, sitting on the ledge in front of the long strip of windows where you could see the planes taking off or coasting to the gates.
This time he was leaning forward, his elbows on his thighs, his hands clasped in front of his knees casually. He was wearing a tucked in, faded blue t-shirt that read ‘ I was born intelligent, but education ruined me’ the iron on letters chipped away from years of washing, and well-worn jeans, his usual attire, and damn, he looked good in that attire. His shiny light brown/dark blonde hair was flush against his neck, little strands curling in different directions. I wanted to touch every one of them.
It was a chilly, early May evening, but he had no coat or jacket. I always told him he had solar-powered, superhero body heat because he rarely wore jackets or coats – it had to be practically sub-zero for him to put one on. He was a perennial summer boy.
I felt my heart start to race and had a moment where I think I stopped breathing. Hyperventilation wasn’t out of the question. I wondered if he had a paper bag on him.
He looked up at me, those steel-blue eyes bringing back the old jelly legs.
“Hey” He said, not taking his eyes off of mine. “You look amazing.”
With his voice..the word amazing sounded amazing. I felt my cool facade start to melt. I had to compose myself – quickly!
Of course, I had to downplay amazing. I don’t take compliments well. “I do? Really? I’m a mess!” I chirped, trying to sound casual.
He hopped off the ledge and took my hand in his, pulling me into a hug. Instead of my normal ‘bury my face in his neck, hold on tight’, hug, I gave him a good old guy to guy hug, you know..the one where two men give each other a quick hug with a pat on the back so the body contact is brief and no one thinks they’re actually enjoying the hug?
I know, when you really think about it, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
“Wow” he said as I pulled back, a sad look in his eyes
What the hell did he expect? He dumped me just 7 weeks ago, smashing my heart like a plate at a Greek restaurant. It was the hardest thing to do because I wanted to be in his arms again..for a long, long time.. a forever long time.
He grabbed my bag and we walked slowly through the airport to the parking lot. He placed his hand on the back of my neck as we walked. What was he doing? BUT, I didn’t pull away this time because it felt good. It gave me hope.
While he drove up the turnpike, I was praying he wouldn’t take me home. I wanted to hear something – anything, like “Hey, wanna do something tonight?” With each mile it became less likely. Damn, I thought, why did I ask him to pick me up? Now the pain is going to be even worse. I couldn’t even look at him because I was afraid I might reach over, hug him and beg him to take me back. If it weren’t for the possibility of crashing, I think I might have.
He pulled off at an exit between his town and mine. Which way was he going to turn? Left? Right? I braced myself as I stared at the flickering letters of a Mobile sign. They need to fix that, I thought. I was grasping at anything to get my mind off wanting him back and not wanting him to take me home..anything. I watched the gas station attendant pick his nose and stifled a chuckle. This was serious time.
Ahh..a red light at THE turn. There’s time, I thought. Please, please, please…don’t turn left!
It was as if the powers that be felt my desperation because he finally turned his head to face me He looked nervous.
“Hey, do you have to go home now? ” he asked, sweetly.
I wanted to turn up the radio and start slapping my hands on the dashboard to the music while bouncing up and down in my seat. The ‘good’ butterflies, deep in my belly, burst from their cocoons and started line dancing to Achy Breaky Heart. They’d been dormant for far too long.
But, of course, I played it cool.
“No.” I replied softly
He looked relieved and happy. Wait..HE LOOKED HAPPY!
“Want to hang out for a while?” He asked, a with a small smile. That dazzling smile. I melted.
“Okay”, I replied..again, softly
Cars started beeping behind us, breaking our little moment. The light had turned green.
“Is there anywhere you want to go?” He asked. “Hungry?”
Yeah, hungry for YOU. But instead I said “No, I’m not hungry. Anywhere you want to go is fine.”
He took a sharp right toward his town. As he drove, I knew where we were going. Our little NYC skyline lookout. I realized I was thirsty after all, so he stopped and picked up a couple Snapple lemonades for me.
When we parked, he turned on the radio, his favorite classic rock station, as usual, and we started to talk – nervous, tentative talk, making sure we said all the right things, kind of getting to know each other again. He asked me about spring break. I told him about everything, including my drunken wipe-out and his lookalike, but wisely left out the part about hooking up with my twin ‘friend’.
He told me he tried to date other girls, but he couldn’t get me out of his mind when he was with them. I told him the same. He told me his friends and family said he was crazy for breaking up with me.
Who doesn’t love hearing that?
I asked him if he had felt that way too. He told me he did and had cried a little on the drive home after breaking it off, even though he knew it was something he needed to do at that time. He said he almost called me several times, hanging up before hitting the last number. I told him the same.
We inched closer to each other as we talked. Soon we were sort of holding hands, my left hand, since I was holding the open lemonade with my right hand, the bottle perched on my right knee. As if on cue, just as we were about to kiss..Stairway to Heaven started playing. To this day, I still wonder why it was never our song since it always came on at such poignant moments between us.
Like the very first night we were together, I left the earth when our lips met. I was on Planet Dreamboat and re-entry into the atmosphere would have to be postponed.
Suddenly, he grabbed my right hand and the bottle firmly, pushing it back. My lemonade had started to tip over, just like that first night, but this time he was ready for it. Without breaking the kiss, we laughed, and then he whispered what I had longed to hear from him and missed so much during those 7 weeks.
“I love you, Lisa” Ahhh..I was home again.
I whispered that I loved him too and then asked “Are we back together?”
He nodded with a big smile and said “Yeahhh”, dragging out the h. I hugged him tight, burying my face in his neck,,inhaling him. He was my boyfriend again..my soulmate. Those relationships never last was now null and void..we had defied it by getting back together. I felt whole again..I was blissfully happy.
I reached into my purse and took out a small plastic bag containing the ring he gave me. I had planned on returning it to him that night if things had not worked out as they did. I slipped it on my finger and showed him. He smiled and hugged me so tight I could barely breathe. I was definitely marrying this guy.
Part 20, coming soon.