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Steak Your Claim

June 1, 2010

Ah, flank steak…my most beloved cut of beef.  Sure, the snobs will spout on and on about filet mignon and porterhouse, but for me, nothing grills up better and utilizes sauces and toppings more effectively than flank steak.  Plus it works great in Asian, Latin American and American dishes.  Today’s recipe comes from the Hannaford Market magazine, pairing beautiful flank steak with a spicy, flavorful pesto made from peppery arugula, meaty pistachios, creamy cheese and tangy lime juice.  It’s a terrific blend of layered flavors that matches perfectly with the steak.  The recipe also includes a simple tomato and avocado salad, the sweet, mellow flavor of which is a perfect contrast to the slightly spicy steak.  One change I made to the recipe is regarding the cheese – the recipe calls for Manchego, a delicious Spanish cheese similar in texture to parmesan.  But to me a great cheese like that gets lost when blended into the pesto, so I opted for a slightly creamier (and less expensive) Fontina, which seemed to work fine.  The other change I made was with the salad – I laid the tomatoes and avocados on a small bed of the arugula.  It helped flavor the tomatoes and avocados, and connected the salad to the main dish.  A great meal all around – enjoy!

Flank Steak with Spicy Arugula Pesto

(serves 4)

1 garlic cove, peeled

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

2 lbs. flank steak, fat trimmed

1 tsp. black pepper, divided

2 1/2 cups arugula, washed

1/3 cup pistachios, shelled

1/2 cup Manchego (or other) cheese, grated

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

3 tbsp. lime juice

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 tomatoes

1 avocado

Heat a grill to med-high heat.  Place garlic and jalapeno in a food processor or blender.  Season steak on both sides with ½ tsp. of the pepper.  Cook steak on each side for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on desired doneness (5 to 6 minutes for medium-rare, 7 to 8 minutes for medium).  While steak cooks, prepare pesto. Add 2 cups arugula and the pistachios to the food processor with garlic and jalapeno. Pulse a few times until coarsely minced. Add cheese and salt to mixture and pulse again until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add 2 tbsp. lime juice and 3 tbsp. oil to the mixture while pulsing, until fully combined and smooth. The pesto will be thick. Slice tomatoes in half and thinly slice each half into half-moon slices. Cut avocado in quarters, and slice each wedge into thinner slices. Divide remaining arugula, tomatoes and avocados among 4 dinner plates. Drizzle each with a bit of the remaining 1 tbsp. lime juice and sprinkle with remaining ½ tsp. pepper.  When steak is done, let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Slice steak across the grain and divide among the 4 plates. Top with arugula pesto and serve immediately.  Eat!

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