Parents Need to Eat, TooSM: Super-Simple Polynesian Flank Steak

Parents Need to Eat, TooSM: Super-Simple Polynesian Flank Steak

(Before we even get started I feel I must apologize for that picture. Personally, I hate rare meat—I think I must be a latent vegetarian, because anything that reminds me too much of what my meat used to be makes me queasy. This photo, with all that fleshy looking flesh, is too close for comfort. But Stephen, my beloved husband, takes his steak rare, so I suffer for him—I eat the well-done stuff at either end.)

Today’s lesson: When reading a blog post, be sure to read the comments, too.

I planned in advance for dinner the other night, sorta. I actually remembered to pull the flank steak out of the freezer around noon, and plunked it into a big pot of cold water to defrost. Of course I didn’t stop to think about what I’d actually do with said flank steak. I knew we could always just grill it plain on my jumbo two-burner cast iron grill pan. But whenever possible, I like to add a little more flavor—I’m not a big fan of beef in general (see note above re: latent vegetarianism), so plain old steak doesn’t thrill me.

About forty minutes before dinner recipe panic set in. What the heck was I going to do to make that hunk of cow more palatable to me? I found the answer on one of my go-to sites, Simply Recipes. Elise’s Grilled Marinated Flank Steak looked enticing, and with only six ingredients it would come together easily. And then I stopped to read the comments—on Elise’s blog there are always tons of comments, many with related recipes included. (An aside: I love that about Simply Recipes! Please, readers, comment away on WTEB—tell me and your fellow readers about new ways to do things I’m already doing.) About a third of the way down came this note, from Chris:

“My family used to eat grilled flank steak once a week when I was growing up. A super tasty, couldn’t-be-easier marinade for Hawaiian Style flank steak is just mixing equal parts soy sauce and pineapple juice. That’s it. Let it marinade overnight and you’ve got a very tasty, cheap steak that’s properly tenderized by the acidity in the pineapple juice.”

What’s that? Just two ingredients? PERFECT. Only problem was I didn’t have any pineapple juice. But I did have little snack packs of tidbits in 100% juice, which Harry adores. I tossed the entire contents of one tidbit cup into my mini-food processor and pureed the heck out of it. Put that in a big Ziploc bag. Used the empty tidbit cup to measure an equal amount of low-sodium soy sauce, and into the bag that went, too. (Gotta love a recipe that says “equal parts,” no? I didn’t even have to dirty a measuring cup!) Scored the steak on both sides to let the marinade penetrate quicker, zipped it all up, and put it in the fridge. Approximately three minutes from beginning to end.

By that point the steak only had about half an hour of marinating time before I cooked it. I knew it wouldn’t have seeped in completely, but at least it wasn’t just plain old meat. And you know what? It was fantastic! Stephen and I gobbled it up—he even went back for seconds. I served it alongside The Red Cat’s Quick Sauté of Zucchini, Almonds, and Pecorino, not exactly a perfect marriage in terms of flavors, but definitely a match in terms of speed.

This one’s going into regular rotation, for sure. And next time I’ll try to think ahead enough to marinate it properly—it can only get better.

Oh, and one more thing: The leftovers from this would be perfect in Whaddya Got Fried Rice.

How do you like your flank steak? Any tips for easy preparation?

Polynesian Flank Steak
From a comment on Simply Recipes

1/2 cup pineapple juice (or 1 snack-pack of pineapple tidbits in juice, pureed)
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3-4 pound flank steak

Put the juice or puree and soy sauce into a large Ziploc bag. Score the steak across the grain, several times on each side, and put it into the bag. Refrigerate for anywhere from half an hour to overnight.

Preheat broiler or grill pan. Cook steak for 4-6 minutes on each side. [Honestly, I kinda suck at knowing how long to cook it, especially since Stephen and I have such different preferences—I usually do 6 minutes a side and hope for the best. Elise has some great instructions on the link above.] Remove from heat, place on cutting board, and cover loosely with foil. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before cutting it—I’m not kidding, this really makes a difference. You can cook the zucchini while it rests!

Slice across the grain, as thin as possible, and as close to a diagonal as possible. Flank steak is prone to toughness, so the more you cut across the grain the more tender your steak will be.