Grilled flank steak with chimichurri and caramelized carrots
I've been pretty into grilling lately. Between 70-degree sunny winter days in Dallas (and a rooftop grill at my place) and friends who love to be outside as much I do, I've been hosting a few BYOV pot lucks. BYOV = bring your own vegetables – it's an easy way to clean out your fridge, to use odds and ends of produce and super simple to throw on the grill. I always have carrots, which become deliciously caramelized on the grill, and spice them up with pine nuts and a lemon-sour cream sauce.
A marinated flank steak is the perfect pair with this take on veggies, and equally straightforward on the grill. I like to marinate my flank steak overnight in the fridge – this marinade takes all of 2 minutes to put together – but you can also marinate the flank steak 30 minutes before cooking at room temperature to a workable but lesser effect. (While the carrot recipe needs the grill to work, the flank steak can be cooked on the stove top with the same heating instructions; you'll just need to add oil to cook it in).
The following will serve two people, with a handful of leftovers. The addition of a few more vegetables and possibly some good grilled bread or pita would be enough for four or so folks.
What to know
Grilling requires three things to be successful (this is exactly what they will tell you in culinary school): your grill needs to be clean; your food needs to be well-oiled; and, above all, your grill needs to be hot. So, I recommend heating up an electric grill on high for at least 30 minutes before you plan to cook; for charcoals, you'll need to let you charcoals heat up for at least one hour before you can cook. Scrub the hot grill with a bristle-y grill brush; the heat will loosen anything you missed the last time you cleaned the grill. While you could oil the grill itself, I think it's a little safer to oil your food well. After cooking, leave your grill going for at least 30 minutes to allow anything else to cook off. Turn off or extinguish the heat, and with the grill brush, again, scrub the grates. This will help you grill well, yes, but it will also preserve the life of the grill itself.
Grilled flank steak
What you need
1 1-lb flank steak, about 1-1 1/2-inches thick
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/4 olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
Maldon salt, for garnish
How to do it
Place flank steak into a gallon-sized plastic bag. Add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and black pepper into the bag. Seal the bag and place flank steak into the refrigerator, flipping the bag over every 6-8 hours. Marinate steak overnight in the refrigerator.
To grill steak, remove from fridge about 20-30 minutes before cooking. Remove the flank steak from the plastic bag and place on a hot spot on the grill – a test portion of vegetables is a great way to find a hot spot, if you're not sure where yours is.
Allow steak to grill for 5 minutes, taking the chance to turn it an inch or so halfway through to create grill marks, before flipping the steak over to a cooler part of the grill.
Allow the steak to cook for 5 minutes, again turning the steak an inch or so to create grill marks, before removing from the heat. This will create a medium-rare flank steak; add a minute per side for medium, and two minutes per side for medium well.
Let the flank steak rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with a sprinkle of large, flakey Maldon salt and a spoonful of chimichurri sauce over the top.
What you need
4 large carrots, scrubbed and sliced in half long-ways
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 cup light sour cream
Juice of 1 lemon
How to do it
For lemon-sour cream sauce:
In a small mixing bowl, squeeze the juice of a lemon into a sour cream. Stir together until combined.
Season with salt, about 1 tsp, and stir until combined.
If available, transfer sauce into a squeeze bottle to serve more easily grill-side.
Keep refrigerated until serving; the sauce can be made in advance and can keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
In a large mixing bowl, toss carrot slices in a few tablespoons of olive oil until coated. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Place cut-side down along a hot spot on your grill and allow to cook for 5 minutes; to achieve cross-hatched grill marks, use tongs to turn carrots an inch or two to the right about 2 1/2 minutes.
After 5 minutes, using tongs, flip the carrots over to opposite side and move to a cooler part of the grill.
Remove from grill after 5 minutes and place on serving dish. Garnish with drizzles of the lemon-sour cream sauce and toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.
What you need
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp red chili flakes, optional
How to do it
Whisk together ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until combined; adding the red chili flakes will incorporate a hint of spice.
Keep covered at room temperature until serving. The chimichurri can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container; you'll have to allow the chimichurri to come up to room temperature before serving. The chimichurri is best if eaten within a day or two of preparation.