comfort food, comfort food born of sleep deprivation and post-pardum cravings, family, food is love, fresh salsas and relishes, from scratch cooking, main dishes, mother of boys, random musings, simple marinades, summer grilling
Way back a million years or so ago, I was a new mother with a sweet baby boy. He was beautiful and perfect and all ours. (Little did I know that he would be our first of four (!!!) sons.) Being my first go-round at motherhood, I naturally I assumed that everything Son #1 did was “normal.” Including his colicky nature, and habit of nursing around the clock.
It was during those early days of sleep deprivation and continuous nursing my babe that I did something I said I would never do in my new career as a stay-at-home mom: I turned on the television to watch a daytime talk show.
Gasp! I know!
Lucky for me, I turned on the television at the precise moment that Chef Keith Famie was demonstrating a great flank steak soaked in a soy-ginger marinade, and served with a roasted corn salsa. I was drooling about 5 seconds into the segment. Unfortunately for me at the time, being that I was half passed out on the couch with my new babe (seemingly) permanently latched to me, I couldn’t get a pen or paper to write down the recipe. Also unfortunate was the fact that we didn’t have internet service at our house, so I couldn’t look up the recipe later. Also not helping was the fact that I forgot which morning show he was on about 5 seconds after I turned off the TV.
Gasp! I know!
So during one of the brief periods that I could set Son #1 down, I scribbled what I remembered of the recipe onto a napkin. I know that I didn’t remember all of the ingredients, or their quantities, nor was I ever going to roast an ear of corn just to make salsa in that sleep deprived season of life. Forgive me, Chef Famie. Still I pressed on. Over the years, the-former-Survivor-Contestant-Chef-inspired recipe has evolved to become one of our absolute summertime favorites. The steak is tender and flavorful, and is perfectly complemented by the salsa.
This recipe is worth making if for only a reason to snarf up the salsa–it’s that good. Try it this weekend!
For the Steak, you’ll need: a 2 pound flank steak, olive oil, soy sauce, an orange, a large lemon, garlic, ground ginger, honey, and black pepper.
Pour the olive oil into a shallow baking dish–preferably one with a cover.
Add the soy sauce to the mix, and play I Spy with the shapes that it makes.
I Spy a Circus Sea Lion! OK, I’m only kidding about the I Spy part. Kind of.
Fresh juice is the way to go for this marinade, so squeeze the juice from an orange, and a large lemon into the baking dish. You should get about 1/2 C. of orange juice, and around 3 or 4 Tbs. of lemon juice. My lemons were on the small side, so I juice two of them. Don’t worry about any pesky seeds getting in the marinade–they won’t hurt a thing.
Peel and mince a couple of cloves of garlic, and add that to the dish. If you’re lazy like me, you’ll use a garlic press to mince the garlic.
Drizzle in the honey, for just a touch of sweetness.
Sprinkle in the ground ginger and black pepper, and stir with a fork to combine the marinade.
Place the flank steak into the marinade, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for several hours–the longer the better! I usually get the flank in the marinade before bed the night before I want to cook it, and pop it in the ‘fridge. I flip the flank in the morning, cover it back up, and let it marinate until I’m ready to make dinner. I set the baking dish on the counter 30 minutes before I want to cook it, so the steak can shake some of the chill off and come to room temperature.
Make the Corn and Avocado Salsa while you are waiting for the flank to come to room temperature. You’ll need: corn, onion, tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, cayenne pepper, cumin, rice wine vinegar, and a ripe avocado.
Dump the corn into a dish, and juice a lime over it. I let Son #3 do the honors for me, right after he informed me that he was “an expert at getting the juice out of stuff.” Can’t argue with that logic.
If you are a gadget-dork like me, and happen to have a citrus reamer, be sure to wipe all the pulp off the reamer and into the dish. That’s good stuff, so don’t waste it.
Slice the tomatoes in half, and cut out the woody cores from the top.
Slice the tomato halves into 1/4 inch slices. Grab a spoon to remove the seeds from the slices.
Dice the tomato slices, and toss ‘em on top of the corn.
Run a knife along the middle of the outside of an avocado, twisting the halves to separate. Then carefully whack the knife part-way into the avocado pit. Pick up the avocado half in your other hand, and twist the knife in the pit to remove it. For safety reasons, I highly recommend not holding the avocado half when whacking the knife into the pit.
To quickly dice the avocado halves, hold each half and run the knife lengthwise through the flesh in 1/4 inch increments. Turn the avocado half, and make a series of 1/4 inch cuts widthwise. Be careful not to cut through the skin of the avocado. Or your own, for that matter.
Use a large spoon to scoop the diced avocado flesh out of the skin. Add the avocado to the other veggies in the dish.
Finely dice a little Vidalia, or other sweet onion, to add to the mix.
Pour the rice wine vinegar and olive oil over the diced veggies.
Then sprinkle the cumin and cayenne over the whole thing.
Give the salsa a quick stir so that all the parts can get to know each other better. Feel free to toss in a little chopped cilantro, if you have it. Cover the salsa and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but no more than 60 or the avocado may start to turn brown.
Once the flank has come to room temperature, start the grill and get it nice and hot. Now I realize that everyone’s grills and steak preferences are different, so use your best judgement when cooking the steak. We like our steak medium to medium rare, so I sear each side of the steak for 2 minutes over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until it is done to our liking. (About 10-12 minutes in total.)
And when I say “I” in relation to the grill, I really mean Hubby, as he is the Master of the Flame.
Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Slice the flank into very thin slices against the grain.
Then grab the Corn and Avocado Salsa out of the refrigerator.
And create one of these arrangements. The tang and subtle heat of the salsa is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the flank steak–they were made for each other!
Feel free to scoop up any leftover salsa with tortilla chips for a midnight snack. That’s what we do! Or come back a little later, and I’ll give you another idea.
Asian Inspired Flank Steak
1 two pound Flank Steak
For the Marinade:
1C. soy sauce
½ tsp. dried ginger
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Juice of 1 orange (about ½ C.)
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbs.)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbs. honey
½ C. olive oil
- Prepare the marinade in a shallow baking dish by whisking together the soy sauce, dried ginger, pepper, orange juice, lemon juice, garlic, honey, and olive oil until combined.
- Place the flank steak into the marinade, and turn to coat both sides. Refrigerate for several hours, turning the steak periodically so that it evenly soaks in the marinade. (I usually marinate overnight, flip the steak in the morning, and continue marinating until I am ready to grill it.
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator and set it on the counter and come to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Grill or broil the flank over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, more or less, until done to your liking. (When grilling, I sear each side for 2 minutes over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium, and continue to grill it for about 6 more minutes, flipping periodically, until done to our liking. We like our flank to be medium in the center, and medium-well on the ends.) Under done is better than over done, because steak will continue to cook while resting.
- Allow the steak to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes to seal in the juices.
- Slice the steak in very thin strips, against the grain.
- Serve topped with Corn & Avocado Salsa.
Corn and Avocado Salsa
1½ C. fresh (cooked) corn, or thawed frozen corn
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
2 small tomatoes, diced (about 1 to 1 ½ C.)
½ C. finely diced Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
¼ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 In a medium bowl, combine the corn, diced avocado, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.
2 Pour in the fresh lime juice, rice vinegar, and olive oil. Stir.
3 Sprinkle in the cumin and cayenne, and stir well.
4 Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. I don’t recommend refrigerating the salsa for much longer than 30 minutes, or the avocado may start to brown.
5 Serve with tortilla chips, or over Asian Inspired Flank Steak. Salsa is also great over most other grilled meats, or on top of toasted baguette slices.