I love flank steak. There I’ve said it. Again. Maybe for some it wouldn’t seem a match for that magnificent rib eye I recently had but I just love how the ‘need’ to marinate it also means that the flavor can be so manipulated (in a good way) by the cook depending on your tastes. Want to serve it from the grill American style? This version is terrific. Mexican? Add some heat to that same version and you’re good to go. Want something really impressive for guests? Use a flank steak for this Bisteca ala Panzano’s, layered with pesto and mashed potatoes which is just amazing.
I know there are proponents of a more Asian flair which is not my typical bent but when I saw a recipe and it was one of those moments I had of knowing I had to…oranges in the colander and flank steak in the fridge and I was ready. But then life got in the way and several days later, the oranges are gone except the one that has seen better days but my hankering was not. What to do? How about grapefruit instead of orange juice? Really, why not?
I went a bit off course with olive oil and garlic and a bit of honey to offset the more tart grapefruit. The result? Mad Love. The acidity of the grapefruit and the overnight marinating made this piece of meat so tender and the combination of ingredients were subtle but amazing. I do think I could mix almost any variety of spices, add some olive oil and garlic, sometimes wine and a vinegar or juice for a bit of acid and be happy. Meat marinades really allow our own creativity to reign so go for it. They serve as both a flavor enhancer and a tenderizer and are perfect for cuts like flank or skirt steak that would be tough without some help.
It’s time for some adult play when we can mix and match combinations of ingredients for a result that is all our own. Some examples of the ingredients I might use include:
- Olive oil or vegetable oil
- Red or white wine
- Red, champagne or balsamic vinegar
- Honey or brown sugar
- Garlic, finely chopped
- Green onions or shallots, finely chopped
- Ginger, grated
- Fresh or dried herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme and tarragon are my favorites because I have then in my garden)
- Fresh squeezed or bottled juices (lemon, lime, orange and now grapefruit)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
- Mustard, plain or coarse
This is just a start…I would love to hear what your favorite marinade combination is; leave a link in your comments if you have a favorite recipe!