Aug 10 2010

No Substitutes

Published by at 8:53 pm under Dinner

When you’re craving a juicy, old-fashioned, no-nonsense steak, I find there is no substitute. A delicate filet of fish can’t compete, and even a hearty pasta dish falls short. It must be the umami flavor that makes your mouth water at the mere thought of red meat (I stopped myself from writing “je ne sais quoi”).

My sincerest apologies for this post, vegetarians, but I was seriously desperate for a satisfying slab of steak this weekend. The kind that pairs best with a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon and deserves a few decadent, earthy toppings. Luckily, I had some blue cheese left over from that Arugula and Endive Salad I made before, so I knew the stars were aligning for me.

I even sacrificed a little bit of said Cab Sauv to simmer some mushrooms in for the ultimate steakhouse-style goodness. My parents spoiled me as a kid, so if I’d had it my way this would have been a beef tenderloin filet; but alas, I’m in my early 20s (mid-20s? Surely not) and can’t justify such luxuries. So flank steak it was, but to be honest, it didn’t feel like a sacrifice. The meat was every bit as tender and juicy as I’d hoped (many thanks to my assistant for acting the grill master).

I’ve now used the word “juicy” twice, so it must be recipe time.

Grilled Flank Steak with Blue Cheese and Red Wine Mushrooms

Ingredients (Serves 4):

2 lbs. flank steak, cut into 4 equal pieces

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided into two parts

4 cloves garlic, minced and divided into two parts

Salt and pepper

3 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup deep red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot)

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

Heat the grill (or grill pan, in my case) to medium-high heat. Coat steaks evenly with 2 tbsp. olive oil and 2 cloves’ worth of minced garlic (1/2 tbsp. oil and 1/2 clove minced garlic per steak). Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp.

olive oil in a large frying pan, and add remaining 2 cloves’ worth of minced garlic. Let cook for one minute, then add mushrooms. Sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, or until tender. (Note: The mushrooms soak up a LOT of oil, so you may have to add a bit extra in this step to keep them from burning).

Add wine to pan, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is evaporated and the wine takes on a thicker texture, like a thin syrup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the mushrooms on very low heat while you cook the steak.

Place steak on grill or grill pan. Cook for 3 minutes if you prefer it rare, or 4 minutes if you prefer it medium. Flip the steaks, and top with crumbled blue cheese, 1/4 cup per individual steak. Let cook for another 3 minutes (if rare) or 4 minutes (if medium).

Divide mushroom mixture equally into 4 parts and spoon over steaks to serve.

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