Last Christmas I received the Food & Wine Annual 2011 Cookbook. It contains the types of recipes that are up my alley; realistic weeknight recipes with great flavor and practical ingredients. I’m all about real life cooking. My favorite recipes are ones that take about 30 minutes to whip up after work and require no extra trip to the grocery store. With a smartly stocked pantry and spice cabinet, this can be an easy reality. Of course, I’d love to cook with truffles, saffron and other specialty ingredients, but for most of us, it isn’t realistically within our everyday budget.
With all this in mind, I was eating my raisin bran the other morning and flipping through the Annual 2011 Cookbook for dinner ideas. I came across this Grilled Balsamic-and-Garlic Flank Steak recipe as inspiration and my modified recipe is below. My first substitution was the use of a fig-flavored balsamic vinegar for regular balsamic. We picked up a bottle of it when we were in Savannah last year at one of the flavored oil and vinegar places that are popping up everywhere. Then, because I don’t normally buy flank steak, I substituted with NY sirloin. I was out of thyme, so I skipped it all together, but the steak was still delicious. I really enjoy steak recipes for their speed and simplicity. Of course, salt, pepper and a grill can be enough for a great steak and purists out there will probably say that’s all one ever needs. I like to mix it up though, even if the recipes are simple.
One of the keys to a great tasting steak in the middle of winter is a cast iron grill pan. Properly seasoned, it is as close as we get to grilling from November through March. The kitchen might get a little smoky, but that’s why it’s good. Ours is a Lodge cast iron square grill pan. I think I picked it up at the Rural King from our days in Martinsville, Indiana. As I write this, I can’t think of a better purchase from Rural King.
So here it is, steak, Rural King, and Food & Wine all coming together for a great meal.
GRILLED BALSAMIC SIRLOIN STEAK
Ready in 35-40 minutes
2 tablespoons fig-flavored balsamic vinegar (regular balsamic will be just fine)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 NY Sirloin Steaks about 1 ½ thick, at room temperature
freshly ground black pepper
Rinse steaks and pat dry. Salt and pepper generously. Whisk together the garlic, vinegar and oil. (I used a small blender to combine the garlic, vinegar and oil, but you really don’t need to if you want to just mince the garlic on a cutting board.)
Place the steaks in a dish and pour the garlic-vinegar-oil mixture on the steak. Turn the steaks to coat.
Heat the grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the pan with freshly ground pepper (this helps to create a nice sear). Place steaks on grill pan, about 7 minutes per side (for medium) and flip the steak ONLY ONCE. Aside from turning the steak after the 7 seven minutes, resist the temptation to move or touch the steak once you put it on the grill. Remove from heat and let rest for about 10 minutes. Serve.