Adapted from A New Way To Dinner, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
serves 2 people; easily scaled upward
prep time: about 10 minutes
1-2 pounds flank steak
a splash of decent red wine (drinkable, but don’t use your finest Barolo)
salt and pepper
2-3 lemons, quartered
your favorite salad greens–mesclun, arugula, romaine, etc
a hunk of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
1-2 cloves garlic (optional, for garlic lovers)
You will need a cast iron pan, grill, or heavy pan to make this dish. I don’t give grilling instructions because I don’t have a grill. If you do, by all means, go ahead and use it.
Presalting the meat: optional but ideal:
1-24 hours ahead of time, place your steak in a ceramic or glass baking dish and salt, using about 1 teaspoon salt per pound of meat. Lightly pepper as well, if desired. Cover steak with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate until an hour before cooking time.
About one hour before cooking, remove meat from refrigerator.
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Place a well-seasoned cast iron pan, grill, or heavy pan on the stove. Oil lightly if necessary with olive oil. Heat pan over medium heat. Add a slug of red wine, taking care not to spatter your favorite shirt.
Add the steak and garlic, if using. Turn heat up slightly and allow steak to color nicely, about three minutes. Turn and cook on other side, another three minutes.
Using oven mitts, carefully place the pan in oven so steak can finish cooking. Depending on size of steak, your oven, and personal preference, cooking will take 5-10 ten minutes. Remember that meat continues cooking off heat, so take care not to overcook, unless you like your steaks resembling shoe leather.
Check for doneness at 5 minute mark, removing from oven and making a small test slice if necessary. If meat is cooked to your liking, or even slightly undercooked, remove from oven and tent with foil. Allow meat to stand while you finish the salad.
Scatter the salad leaves on a platter. Dress lightly with olive oil, then add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Returning to the beef, slice it very thinly, taking care to corral the tasty juices. Lay the slices over the leaves, spooning the cooking juices over the platter. (Don’t forget the garlic clove!) Shave some parmesan over all. Taste for salt–the dish is salty and may not need more. Serve immediately.
Steak salad is perfection all by itself, but at this time of year–early fall–a few sliced tomatoes only gild the lily, as does some good bread to soak up those delicious juices.
Leftovers: while you could freeze the flank steak, it would lose its fresh flavor. Instead, refrigerate any leftovers with plans to finish them over the next three or four days. This should prove no hardship. While the salad leaves do get wilty, they still taste good, so work around the wilt factor by using them to line sandwiches.
Notes: In their recipe, Hesser and Stubbs call for T-bone steaks while noting cheaper cuts like flank and strip steak also work well provided you slice them thinly. I use flank steak, and it is delicious.
I have used both Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses successfully here. Buy the real thing, not the burnt rubber leavings sold in cardboard cans. Life is too short to eat that stuff. Whatever it is.