Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Balsamic Herb - Flat Iron Steak

I recently posted about my new favorite cut, the Flat Iron Steak. If you don’t like your steak med-rare, this is not your cut of meat.  But if you do, read on…

Tonight’s experiment was to see how well the flat iron absorbed a marinade.  The idea of balsamic vinegar and herb de province sounded promising.  It works really well with chicken, why not steak?

I proceeded to mix together a simple balsamic vinaigrette with lots of garlic and a good dose of herbs. All it took to put this flavorful marinade together were six pantry ingredients. If you don’t count the salt and pepper, it was really only four ingredients.
Balsamic vinegar has a dark rich color (almost black), making you think that it will overpower anything that it touches.  Contrary to its appearance, it has a sweet and mild flavor, making it a great choice for a marinade.  What’s nice about balsamic vinegar when roasting, grilling or braising, is that it adds not only flavor, but color to your dish – giving it a rich appearance.
Herb de Province is one of my favorite (all purpose) herb blends; it adds a gentle herby flavor without being overpowering. I buy it in the bulk food section of my grocery store and can fill a whole spice jar for about 30 pennies.
I had only about 2 hours before the meat would hit the grill.  So I decided to marinate the steak without the oil for the first hour - to allow the concentrated flavors to absorb into the meat faster, then I added the oil to the marinade for the last hour. 

All I could say when I tasted the first slice is… “This is Fantastic”.  The flavors were perfectly balanced.  The balsamic gave it a hint of sweet, the garlic gave it punch and the herbs gave it character.
Two hours was plenty of time for the meat to pick up the flavors of the marinade.  I would suggest marinating this cut of meat for at least an hour – two would be better and up to overnight. 
You might be thinking… do I leave the oil out or can I mix it with the rest of the ingredients? Good question…
  • If you have only an hour or two to marinate the meat, marinate the meat without the oil for half the time and add the oil in the second half. 
  • If you have lots of time 4 hrs. or overnight, mix the oil into the marinade and let it do its thing.
Balsamic Herb Flat Iron Steak
1 ½      pound              flat iron steak
1          tsp.                  Herb de Province
½         tsp.                  kosher salt
¼         tsp.                  black pepper
3          cloves              garlic, minced
2          Tbsp.               balsamic vinegar
¼         cup                  olive oil

Place the steak in a gallon sized zip top bag.  Mix ingredients together and pour over meat; squish it around in the bag to distribute the marinade.  Turn the bag over every once in a while so the steak will marinate evenly.

Cook on an open bbq for about 5 - 8 minutes per side (med-rare), depending on how thick it is. Baste with the marinade as it is grilling. Let rest (tented with foil) for 5 - 10 minutes and slice against the grain into thin strips.

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