There are steak lovers who extol the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of a lean filet mignon. Others adore 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.
You can marinate flank steak in nearly 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 with seasonings, a flank steak can take it.
Here, tangy, funky Worcestershire sauce is balanced with herbs, garlic and jalapeno, rounded out with a bit of sugar to help the meat caramelize.
Those same flavors, along with lemon zest for brightness, are used in a compound butter that goes on top of the just-cooked steak. As it softens, the butter mingles with the steak juices, melting into a rich, creamy puddle.
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.
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 no more, or the beef will dry out. (If you must have well-done steak, consider another, more forgiving cut.)
It’s as satisfying and summery a meal as any steak lover could want.
GRILLED FLANK STEAK WITH WORCESTERSHIRE BUTTER
By Melissa Clark
>> 1-1/2 pounds flank steak
>> 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
>> 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
>> 3 ripe plum tomatoes
>> Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
>> 3 scallions, thinly sliced
>> Handful torn fresh basil, plus more for serving
>> Lemon juice, as needed
>> 6 thyme sprigs
>> 3 garlic cloves, finely grated or mashed to a paste
>> 1 jalapeno, minced
>> 2 tablespoons minced chives, plus more for serving
>> 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
>> 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar or dark brown sugar
>> 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
>> 1/2 cup unsalted butter
>> 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
>> 1 tablespoon minced chives
>> 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
>> 1 garlic clove, grated or mashed to a paste
>> Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
>> 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
>> 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Season steak all over with salt and pepper.
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl or resealable bag. Add meat and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
To make Worcestershire butter: Mash ingredients together in small bowl. Spoon onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, form into a log and wrap well. Chill for at least 2 hours.
Light grill or heat broiler, arranging rack 4 inches from heat source. Grill tomatoes, or broil them on a rimmed baking pan, turning them, until charred on all sides, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board to cool.
Brush off any marinade clinging to the steak, pat dry and coat lightly with olive oil. Grill or broil until steak reaches desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare (internal temperature of 125 degrees).
Transfer steak to cutting board. Slice butter into coins and place on the steak to melt slightly. Let steak rest for 5 minutes while you prepare tomatoes.
Roughly chop grilled tomatoes and place in bowl with scallions, basil, a pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss well, adding more salt and/or lemon juice, to taste.
Slice steak thinly, across grain, and serve with charred tomato mixture on top. Garnish with more chives and torn basil, if you like. Serves 6.
Nutritional information unavailable.