There are steak lovers who extol the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of a lean filet mignon. Others adore devouring the charred fat of a properly marbled strip steak.
Flank steak has less fervent admirers.
A lean cut from the muscular abdomen of the cow, it requires some active chewing. But what flank steak lacks in softness, it makes up for with a deeply mineral brawniness that can stand up to the spiciest, tangiest, most pungent marinades. It’s the cut to cook when you want as much beefy character as possible, and are willing to chomp a little to get there.
The great thing about a flank steak is that you can marinate it in pretty much anything that tastes good, and the meat will soak those flavors right up. I’ve used everything from leftover salad dressings to the last bits of salsa, and it always comes out fine. Be bold in your seasonings, a flank steak can take it.
Here, I balance tangy, funky Worcestershire sauce with herbs, garlic and jalapeño, rounded out with a bit of brown or coconut palm sugar to help the meat caramelize.
Then I use those same flavors, along with lemon zest for brightness, in a compound butter that’s sliced on top of the steak. As it softens, the butter mingles with the steak juices, melting into a rich, creamy puddle. To augment the sauce, I char a few ripe tomatoes until their skins blister. Chopped up with basil and scallions, they add sweetness and brightness to the buttery, meaty mix.
If you have time to marinate your steak the day before, you should. It gives the meat the most time to absorb all the seasonings. But even a couple of hours makes a huge difference.
Then heat your grill or broiler as hot as it can go. I like cooking flank steak until it’s seared and mahogany brown on the surface but still ruby-hued and rare inside. Medium-rare is good, too, but don’t be tempted to push it any more or the beef will dry out. (Well-done fans should consider another, more forgiving cut.)
Served thinly sliced and topped with charred tomatoes and sweet and pungent Worcestershire butter, it’s as satisfying and summery a meal as any steak lover could want.
Recipe: Grilled Flank Steak With Worcestershire Butter
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Melissa Clark has been a columnist for the Food section since 2007. She reports on food trends, creates recipes and appears in cooking videos linked to her column, A Good Appetite. She has also written dozens of cookbooks. @MelissaClark • Facebook
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