A Taste of Argentina
My father was born in Argentina to Italian parents. As you can imagine they ate a great deal of meat and homemade pasta in that household. I find it incredibly rewarding to create a perfectly tender, savory and delicious grilled steak at home. You can thank my Argentine roots for these mouth-watering recipes.
How to Grill Flank Steak Perfectly
Flank steak is an incredibly flavorful and economical cut of meat, when cooked properly that is. Grilled to perfection, flank steak is robust, tender and full of flavor. But if you can’t handle a little red in your steak, this is not the cut for you. Unfortunately, if you cook a flank steak too much past medium it turns tough and not so mouth-watering.
There are a few tips to grilling a perfect flank steak every time, whether you cook it on an outdoor gas or electric grill or indoors on your stove in a cast iron grill. The basic rules are the same. First you need your cooking surface to be as hot as it possibly can be. This creates that wonderful seared-in crust. Secondly, resist the urge to touch or move the steak in any way once it’s on the grill. I cringe when I see someone poking meat on the grill and want to scream “stop destroying our dinner!”. If you poke meat while it’s cooking (and even before you cook it) you are letting valuable juices and flavor escape and risk drying out your meat. If you move the meat before it’s ready to be turned over you basically yank off the delicious crust and again risk losing all those precious juices! So please, for the sake of your dinner, don’t poke, turn or otherwise touch your steak in any way until it is ready to be turned over.
So when can you flip your flank steak? You’ll need an accurate timer. Set it for 3 minutes if you love a rare to medium rare center, flip the steak and cook it for another 3 minutes. Again, resist the urge to touch it. The beautiful thing about a flank steak is that the middle is thicker than the ends so as you cut towards the ends, the slices will be more and more medium to please several different palates. If you suspect your grill isn’t hot enough or your cut of flank looks exceptionally fat in the middle, you might want to grill it for 3 1/2 minutes per side. You can also use a meat thermometer to help gauge the cooking.
The next very important step is allowing your steak to rest so that the juices can properly redistribute throughout the meat. If you were to cut it open immediately, all that deliciousness would come pouring out and then you would have gone through all that trouble for absolutely nothing. At least I have no desire to eat a less than perfect, flavorless steak. After you have cooked the flank steak 3 minutes per side you should place it on a plate, cover it with foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
The Perfect Cut
The final secret to making perfectly grilled flank steak every time is how you cut it, the slice has to be just right. I prefer to use a sharp serrated knife to make very thin slices against the grain of the meat. In other words, if you lay the flank steak horizontally in front of you, you will be cutting very thin slices along the short ends of the steak at a 45 degree angle. Thanks to this delicious Chimichurri sauce from Argentina all your cut of steak needs prior to cooking is a little olive oil rubbed on both sides, a liberal sprinkle of salt (kosher or sea) and a whole lot of freshly cracked black pepper.
The Perfect Companion
If you need ideas for a side dish, I love to serve this Steak Chimichurri with a goat cheese and white cheddar potato gratin.
This sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for several days. Because my time in the afternoons is very limited with two young ones running around, I typically make it in advance on an otherwise less busy day. Since the steak takes very little time to prepare and cook, I can then focus my precious time on making an amazing accompaniment.
You can also make a quick couscous or rice and stir in the same Chimichurri sauce for an added flavor bonus. We sometimes also serve the sliced flank steak over a delicious and healthy main dish salad. Any way you slice it, your perfect steak and savory sauce is guaranteed to bring a little taste of Argentina to your home, no passport required!
Suggested Wine Pairings
Chimichurri sauce originated in Argentina so it makes sense to pair it with one of Argentina’s better known grape varietals, Malbec. The wine’s rich, ripe fruit and soft tannins and spice will make it a great partner for a steak served with Chimichurri. This is a robust and flavorful sauce that needs a big red to stand up to it. You can also try a spicy, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, big fruit Zinfandel or Italian Barolo. If you don’t like heat in your food, resist the urge to pair this dish with a tannic wine as it will only intensify the heat.