Redefining the Limits of Brilliance

This dish was my first time cooking with flank steak – given it is a much leaner steak than your standard T-bone, I was extremely nervous about how to make the most out of this cut. I had two options – simply cooked then covered it with a sauce, or a marinade. I went with the latter, and thank God I did! If you remember from my previous post, I’m not a big meat eater, but this steak was amazing! Not only that, it fit beautifully into my “get-rid-of-all-that-leftover-OJ” efforts (like this orange cake had from a previous post). If you like steak, but don’t want to shell out big bucks for it, I highly recommend giving this Broiled Flank Steak with Citrus-Honey Mustard Marinade a shot!
Flank steak comes from the abdominal section of a cow, making it much leaner and tougher than your more expensive cuts (i.e short loin, chuck, etc). For quite some time, it was seen as a “cheap, unreliable cut.” Yet that opinion has drastically changed given flank steak is easy too cook, arguably healthier than your fattier cuts, and extremely versatile in cooking method and flavor options. Cutting the steak across the grain is key to help break down the fibrous muscle of the meat, giving you the most tender result. Marinades really bring out the potential of this cut, and the longer it sits the greater the taste. I learned the above method of placing a ziploc bag in a bowl from SimplyRecipes – it ensures even coating with little to no mess.
This marinade…wow was it good! It was on a complete whim, actually – I was cleaning out some old magazines and saw a SouthernLiving grilling edition. There were two pages devoted to marinades, and seeing as how I have so much OJ to spare this one was perfect! The coarse-grained mustard is essential – you can use Dijon, but it won’t have the same intensity. This marinade would probably be great with chicken or fish as well (something I am definitely planning on trying); I didn’t change a thing with the recipe.
Given the lack of grill, the broiler was the way to go (as you can remember from my previous post). If you don’t have a broiler pan, I wouldn’t recommend using your cookie sheets; they will warp/darken considerably. A broiler pan ss a worthwhile investment if you like grilled food and have apartment limitations. Cast iron works great too, of course 🙂 The key to serving flank steak is cutting it into thin slices – it capitalizes on the meats tenderness, and makes for a beautiful presentation. This has definitely become my new go-to cut of steak for a large crowd – it’s fast, tastes great, and has less than 10 ingredients! We had pasta and steamed vegetables as sides for the steak. Click HERE to learn how to make this dish a staple in your own cooking repertoire.
In keeping with my OJ theme, I also made a Orange & Fennel Salad with Citrus-Shallot Vinaigrette. The reduced orange juice gives the vinaigrette a potent richness, needing only a touch of honey to even out the taste. It’s such a simple recipe, yet makes a fantastic salad – click HERE to find out how to make it.
For the pairing of this dish, I wanted to piece that would complement the depth of flavor these two dishes possess: colorful, yet potent. It drew my to Strauss’s renowned tone poem Don Juan, Op. 20. The work launched a 25-year-old Strauss to international success. Regarded as Strauss’s “coming-of-age” masterpiece, Don Juan displays an orchestral valor that far transcends the conservative writing of his youth. This shift of style was a direct result of Strauss’s aquaintance with fellow composer Alexander von Ritter.* Ritter’s influence led to Strauss’s pursuit of the “tone poem,” or an orchestral work that evokes a story, landscape, or other non-musical art form, and is one continuous movement.** For a work that is not even 20 minutes in length, this tone poem is replete with emotional depth and poetic grandeur, thus my pairing. I’ve included here a recording with Bernard Haitink and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – it is in two parts, and I strongly recommend listening to the entire thing. Enjoy!

Sources Cited:
* Rodda, Dr. Richard E. “Don Juan,” The Kennedy Center website 
** “Tone Poem,” Wikipedia.com 

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4 thoughts on “Redefining the Limits of Brilliance

  1. Hey Anne, great post! I learned that you can place the steak in the marinated zip lock bag (excess air removed as much as possible) into a water bath of 125F for about 45 minutes as a makeshift sous-vide (and save on the $1000 water circulation machine!). Afterwards, shock the bag in ice water to chill it, then finish it off on a cast iron to char for 2 minutes on each side. Once it’s rested, the result should be great!

    Also, kiwi works as a great tenderizer!

  2. Flank steak marinated in Worcestershire sauce, Soy sauce, Sherry, Thyme and Garlic is the way my family’s cooked flank steak forever.

  3. Hey Anne! I’ve been reading a number of your posts here and there and just wanted to express how much I’ve been enjoying them. Lots of great ideas that I want to try at some point. Keep at it, and I’ll see you in September!

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