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Thursday, March 23, 2006 

Flank Steak - Strictly for Home Use?

Lisa Zwirn in the Boston Globe has a look at a cut of steak that is very common in the supermarket, but one that you don't see often on restaurant menus. The cut is the Flank Steak, which is a favorite for grilling and used often in quesadillas and other Mexican food. She talks to eecutive chef Jay Murray about the cut:

The flat cuts like flank and skirt steak, which are typically chewier and fattier but quite flavorful, don't have the same cachet as the expensive steaks. ''People think they're sacrificing to get flavor," says Murray. There's one more strike against flank steak: its flat and squat shape, which won't win it any beauty contests. ''Even when it's tender it doesn't have the same texture or bounce that a strip steak or tenderloin has," says the chef. At home, however, the flavorful slab of flank is a favorite.

The article goes on to recommend using a garlicky dressing for marinade to make the meat a little more tender and then grilling or pan frying the steak over very hot heat. It's best served at medium rare or even less cooked.

This recipe is also included:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil

In a baking dish large enough to hold the steak in a flat layer, combine the vinegar, oil, garlic, oregano, and pepper. Turn the steak in the marinade a few times, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

2. Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet (cast iron works well, but not nonstick) over high heat for 3 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle the steak liberally with salt. Add the oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Carefully add the steak -- it will sizzle loudly.

3. Cook the meat for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness, turning once, for medium rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it sit, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minutes.

4. Hold a knife at a 45-degree angle to the steak and cut across the grain into thin slices. Arrange the slices on a plate and pour any juices from the cutting board over the meat.