When both the heat outside and the rumblings in your tummy increase exponentially, a conundrum forms in the kitchen. If one is to cook inside, the sweltering heat of the oven and burners in an enclosed space becomes overwhelming. The solution? Cook outside! The grill becomes a heavenly oasis in these hot months: you can cook just about anything on the grill, you get to hang out outside, often beer and/or wine is involved, I mean you just can’t go wrong. Plus, grilled food is delicious! It has that incomparable smokiness and char paired with the crisp bark that forms on the outsides of the food. It’s an addicting combination and its making me salivate (instead of sweat) right now!
And there is nothing more quintessential than a perfectly grilled steak. For this preparation, I chose to use flank steak. Flank steak is a long, flat cut that comes from the abdominal muscles of a cow meaning it is well exercised (translation: tough). However, once marinated in some acid and then grilled quickly, I think that flank steak has a beautiful texture. Crisp on the outside, tender with a slight meaty chew on the inside and it forms the perfect blank canvas for chimichurri. Chimichurri is a bright Argentine herb paste/sauce that serves as a traditional complement to their famous beef. It is typically made with parsley, garlic, white or red wine vinegar and olive oil. I like to add cilantro and some oregano to the mix as well as some shallot for a nice bright, verdant sauce!
When eating things that will certainly form a deep puddle of delicious juices, it is absolutely necessary to have something with which to mop them up and in sticking with the South American theme to this meal I decided to prepare tostones. Tostones are double fried smashed plantain wedges and they are just incredible. Crispy and balanced between sweet and savory, they make an excellent vehicle for achieving a true happy plate, that is, a completely clean one!
This meal would pair well with any number of wines and beers! A dry fruit-forward red, a crisp tart white, a hoppy IPA, or even a good unfiltered hefeweizen, have fun with it!
Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri and Tostones
For the Steak and Marinade:
- 1 1-2 pound flank steak
- juice of two limes
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely minced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flake
- 1/4 good extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the Chimichurri:
- 1 cups fresh cilantro, loosely packed
- 1 cups fresh parsley, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup fresh oregano, loosely packed
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the Tostones:
- 2 large plantains, sliced into 1 inch chunks
- 1 quart neutral oil, such as canola or peanut
Preheat your grill. Put your quart of frying oil over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet or a wide deep pot, either on your grill’s burner or inside on your stovetop.
Begin by making the marinade for the flank steak. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. Place the steak into a large zip top bag or into a shallow baking dish and pour over the marinade making sure the meat is evenly coated. Place this into the fridge for an hour and half or up to overnight.
To prepare the chimichurri, place everything besides the olive oil, salt and pepper into the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Then with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until a thick but pourable sauce forms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set this aside.
When your grill is hot, remove your steak from the marinade and pat it dry. Grill for four minutes a side, rotating the steak by 45 degrees every two minutes.
Remove the steak onto a plate or rimmed baking sheet, cover loosely with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, when your frying oil is hot, drop in your first round of plantain chunks. Fry in batches until they are golden brown on both sides and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Then using something wide and flat such as a small plate or saucer, gently smash the plantain chunks until they are flattened but are still holding together. Again, frying in batches, add the smashed “chips” back into the oil for a second fry until they have reached a deep golden brown divinity, about five more minutes. Remove to a fresh paper towel lined plate and sprinkle immediately with salt.
Once the steak has been allowed to rest, slice it thinly against the grain and plate it covering it generously with the chimichurri. Toss some tostones on the plate and dig in! Share this with friends and enjoy! Cheers!