Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Make Your Own Marinade

Sometimes, I get a food idea in my head, and I can't get it out until I make it. This week, it was flank steak with a honey-lime marinade. When I went on my weekly grocery shopping excursion, I picked up a 1 1/2 lb flank steak and three limes. I didn't really know how to put together the marinade, but I didn't care. I have the Internet, so I can find anything! As I was looking around on the Internet, I saw a recipe for honey-lime chicken enchiladas that sounds delicious, so that's firmly lodged in my brain for next week. But what to do with this flank steak now? I needed a new idea for marinade, because I don't want honey-lime anything two weeks in a row.
As I wandered the Internet, I stumbled onto Simply Recipes, where I found this delicious marinade. It does include honey, but no limes. I had everything on hand to make the marinade, and the recipe promised a tender flank steak. Count me in!
I want you to look at all that juicy goodness! Flank steak can be pretty tough if you cook it to the well-done stage. David is the grillmaster of the house, but I warned him that this marinated beauty would only cook three minutes per side. He was skeptical. I think he was afraid that I was trying to kill him. His life insurance policy has been approved, you know. But like a good little husband, he obliged and brought the steak in at the appointed time (6 minutes total grill time). I let it rest for about 10 minutes (key for juicy meat), then cut the steak across the grain (another key to tender flank steak).
Doesn't it look absolutely delicious? It was. For sure. Last night, we had the flank steak with veggies and a salad. Tonight, we had the flank steak on top of salad. Delicious again. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Buy you a big ol' flank steak this weekend and treat yourself. It's really a quick, easy, and healthy dinner.
Why is this thrifty, you ask? For a couple of reasons...flank steak is a pretty reasonable cut of beef in and of itself. But it's the marinade that was the thriftiest, I thought. The ingredients are all things that I'd think most people have on hand, and I'd say that it cost pennies to prepare. Store-bought marinades aren't nearly as flavorful, I don't think, and they cost quite a bit. I've seen off-brand marinades on sale for a couple of bucks, but I'd rather have this any day of the week!
Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon. red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground back pepper
2 lbs. flank steak
kosher salt
Score the surface of the steak with 1/4-inch deep knife cuts, about an inch apart, across the grain of the meat. Combine the marinade ingredients. Place steak and marinade ingredients in a large freezer bag. Coat the steak well with the marinade. Seal the bag and place in a bowl. Chill and marinade for at least two hours and up to overnight.
Using olive oil soaked onto a paper towel, coat the grill rack of your grill with olive oil. Preheat the grill with high, direct heat. The grill is hot enough when you hold your hand about an inch over it and you can only hold it there for about a second.
Take the steak out of the marinade bag and sprinkle generously on all sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (I forgot this step). The salt and pepper will help form a savory crust on the steak. Place the steak on the hot grill. If you're using a gas grill, cover the grill. Grill for 4-6 minutes on each side (we grilled for 3, because our flank steak wasn't quite 2 lbs.). Halfway through grilling on each side, turn the steak 90 degrees, so you get more grill marks.
Flank steak is best eaten medium rare; well done will make it too tough. When the steak has cooked to your preferred level of doneness, remove from the grill and place on a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil to hold in the heat and to keep the steak from drying out, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Make very thin slices, against the grain, and at a slight diagonal so that the slices are wide. This would be great with horseradish sauce.

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