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Flank Steak with Lemon Oil Marinade

Flank steak is a nice and different way to make steak from the grill, but only if you have a bit of time to marinate it. Throw a flank steak on a grill and you’ve got a pretty much unusable steak. But add a little marinade, let it sit overnight and cook it medium to rare, and you’ve got something special on your hands.

That’s where this lemon oil marinade, which is very simple, really does the job. The oil is simple. A good canola oil, some lemon, a little lemon zest and your on your way. Add a few other things — especially green onions — and your home. Now all you have to do is wait until the meat is ready to cook. 

As a marinade for steak, I really can’t come up with much better than this. It takes an ordinary, tough steak and makes it into a wonder. Setting aside the small number of ready to cook steaks — like filet mignon, strip or t-bone — I can’t think of a single marinade/sauce I’ve ever found that comes up to this in terms of the flavor it provides. I’ve also used this for everything from a London broil to tip steak, flank steak, skirt steak or just about anything else I can find. It’s that good. Because of the lemon content, you can also use a bit of the marinade to serve right over the steak, after it’s finished on the grill.


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Hey! Saturday is Filet Mignon Day!

filet mignon

Alright. Any day I can get my hands on a great  filet mignon is a pretty great one, but to be truthful I rarely, if ever, write much about them because, well, you put them on a grill and they’re done, right? Yes you can rub them, but they’re still only fun if you can grill — or maybe use a broiler or a pan, if necessary.

Well, it turns out there actually are a few nice things you can do with a filet mignon, and fortunately, they don’t involve doing anything to the meat, itself. For me, that would definitely be a no-no. Which brings me around to something I’ve done only once before, although I can’t exactly figure out why. Laziness, maybe? In any case, it’s a lovely ground pear and garlic dip that the filet can sit in or have on the side, if you prefer. The meat gets a little rub and that’s it. Everything else is the pear sauce, and I promise you that is good and something you won’t see every day.

The original recipe came from something I saw in an old food channel recipe, and it was scaled down from a much larger batch. It took several tries before I got it down to what was a bit more appropriate for a menu of say, two or maybe four filets, which makes a little more sense. I tend to go a little heavy on the garlic, so you can certainly be a little more conservative there if you like.


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Quick Top Sirloin Steak with Salsa

top sirloin steak

There are plenty of times that none of us wants to hang around for dinner. Whether you have family or just you, the result is just the same: get dinner on the table and let’s head out to what’s really important, right? Yeah, we know. That’s where this top sirloin steak becomes your best friend.

First of all, the steak and the salsa can both be made the night before (and gets better for it), while a little mashed potatoes, french fries, a nice little salad and the rest can be put together while the steak warms up and does a quick 3-4 minutes per side. Honestly guys, you really can’t get much improvement for that.


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Pepper Steak with a Kick

pepper steak

Along with Won Ton soup, I would be willing to bet that pepper steak is one of the first things most of us Americans tried when we first encountered Chinese food here. I’ve never encountered anything like pepper steak in China, though the flavor reminds me of a dish I had once at a hotel in Guilin made with pork. The version served in most inexpensive Chinese restaurants in the US is typically rather bland and seems more American than Chinese, probably for a good reason. This version has more authentic flavors and a bit of a bite. And while its not authentic by any means, it’s flavor profile is much more like what I remember from southern China and Hong Kong.

Some notes about the ingredients are in order. Xiaoxing wine is not easy to find, but dry sherry is a perfectly good substitute, one that I use most of the time, in fact. I found a market where I can sometimes find real Sichuan peppers. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon them, stock up and freeze what you can’t immediately use. The small red Thai peppers that are more common make a pretty good substitute, but they’re not the same. 


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Thai-Inspired Flank Steak Salad

Steak Salad

For some reason, I’ve seen a ton of steak salads recently in magazines, on television and on the web. I’m guessing that it has something to do with the time of year. On a very warm summer evening, a salad that’s worthy of a meal makes a lot of sense. In any case, this steak salad was adapted from several similar recipes I uncovered with a little research. It’s inspired by the flavors of Thailand (or maybe southeast Asia), and it will be showing up on our table frequently for the rest of the summer, you can be sure.

One of the things that makes this recipe interesting to me is that the steak marinade and the dressing are essentially the same. The marinade gets just a little more lime juice and a bit of fish sauce, both of which help tenderize the meat. I used flank steak mainly because it’s reasonably priced and generally always available, but I can think of some other cuts of beef that might work, including flat-iron or skirt steak, or maybe even top round steak.


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Spicy, Coffee-Rubbed Flank Steak

coffee-rubbed flank steak

Amid all the snow and ice this winter, my part of Northern Virginia has had a few relatively warm days. Well, relatively warm, anyway. Last time that happened, I decided to fire up the grill and try an idea I heard on a radio show while driving across town — a rub for beef that uses coffee as one of the main ingredients. So I grabbed this beautiful flank steak at the grocery and decided to improvise my own.

If you like grilling and like your beef on the rare side, flank steak is a great alternative to more expensive cuts. It demands a rub or a marinade, and if you even slightly overcook it, you can use it to repair some worn-out shoes, but a perfectly prepared flank steak is a real joy, moist and full of flavor. 

The rub I created was extremely simple (a theme so far this week, apparently) but the result was fantastic. No trick here. I simply ground fresh coffee — well actually over-ground it into a fine powder — then combined it with a good pre-packaged Cajun-style dry rub. If you have a favorite rub, use that. If not, the one I used was Mangia.tv Cajun rub, which is available online. I’ve said it before: It’s a fantastic product and nobody pays me to say that.


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Steakhouse Parmesan Crusted Filet Mignon

Parmesan Crusted Filet Mignon


Normally, I’m a purist when it comes to steak, especially filet mignon/tenderloin. The cuts are expensive and the risk of ruining a filet with an unfortunate recipe choice seems unnecessary. Then I tried the parmesan crusted filet mignon at a local steakhouse. It was good enough (read fantastic) that I decided to give it a shot. But how do you get that lovely brown crust, full of flavor, on top of a perfectly prepared filet without messing up one of them?

It took a little research on a few good websites to get a sense of how to accomplish this recipe without having access to specialized restaurant equipment, but in the process I learned a trick or two and came up with a version that’s as good as any steakhouse can put on your plate. There are two keys. Not having a salamander (the special broiler that restaurants use) meant pan searing or grilling the steak just short of done before adding the crust, then running under my broiler for a few minutes (like two minutes, max). The crust is a mixture of bread crumbs (panko for crispiness) and butter, which must be very well chilled.

From there, it was all about figuring out how to flavor the crust and the recipe below reflects the result of my trial and error crust-making. With Valentine’s day not far away, this is a great main course for a romantic dinner (assuming you want to impress a steak-lover). Serve it with some asparagus spears and garlic mashed potatoes or steak fries and you’ll definitely score a few points.

Steakhouse Parmesan Crusted Filet Mignon
Serves 2
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  1. 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  3. 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 Tbsp. chives, chopped
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. 2 filet mignon, about 2 inches thick
  1. Start the crust at least 3 hours before making the steaks.
  2. Combine all the crust ingredients and mash together to form a ball about 2 inches in diameter.
  3. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and form it into a thick disc, roughly the size of the filets and refrigerate. (You can make this a few days ahead and freeze it).
  4. Heat a grill or cast iron pan until very hot.
  5. Sear the steaks on both sides and cook to an internal temp of about 125 degrees for medium rare.
  6. Remove steaks from the pan/grill and place a disc of the crust on each steak. The disks should be about a half-inch thick. Preheat broiler to hottest setting.
  7. Place the steaks on a broiler pan or foil lined baking sheet and cook for about 2 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
  8. Allow to rest for five minutes before serving.
  1. If you're pan searing and are not using the pan juices for a sauce, you can leave the steaks in the pan add the crust and run under the broiler in the pan. Be careful. It will be very hot.
Discovery Cooking http://www.discoverycooking.com/


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