There are times when nothing but steak will do. Summer is for easy grilling and flank steak is my choice. This is a fool-proof, vibrant and modern summertime dish.
Flank demands a good marinade to add flavor but also to promote browning and crispness. It needs high heat and quick grilling, a mandatory slice against the grain at an angle, and resting time. I’m here to tell you Barbera is great with grilled meats and it’s best served slightly chilled, making it the perfect BBQ wine. We love especially Palazzo Schiavino Barbera for marinating and Tassi Brunello di Montalcino for sipping.
I marinate the meat for thirty minutes to two hours. For rare steak, I grill it on really high heat for three to five minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Larger steaks might take longer. I reduce the leftover Barbera marinade in a small pot on low heat, I puree it into a creamy sauce, and I serve on the side of the flank steak.
A quick tip for the perfect post-steak dessert: summer is for juicy peaches and effortless desserts. Peel a couple of ripe peaches and cover them with a generous amount of Barbera, add one tablespoon of sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Macerate them for half an hour and enjoy with a hunk of cobalt blue gorgonzola. You’ll thank me.
Serves: 4/6 people
Passive Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 to 6 minutes per side
1 white onion, diced
1/2 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 Full Bottle, 750 ml Barbera wine, like Palazzo Schiavino Barbera
1 garlic clove, peeled
2-3 bay leaves
A few whole cardamom cloves, one cinnamon stick, some juniper berries
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 handful mixed fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme tied together with a string
2 tablespoons cold butter
1 shot of cognac
One 16- to 24-ounce flank steak
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
One bunch of parsley leaves, chopped
Sweat the onion, carrot and celery with the olive oil until translucent in medium-large pot.
Add the Barbera wine, the garlic, the bay leaves, the cloves, the cinnamon, the juniper berries, the nutmeg and the tied herbs. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the beef stock and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove and discard bay the leaves, cinnamon and rosemary and the thyme stalks. With an immersion blender puree the vegetables and the liquid until smooth. Boil the sauce over medium-high heat, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Drop in the butter and swirl it through the sauce until glossy. Add a shot of cognac and reduce it until the alcohol has evaporated, about two minutes. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper, if necessary. It can be prepared a day in advanced. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Season the flank steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the steak in the Barbera sauce and turn once or twice, then let sit in the sauce until the grill is hot.
Turn the steak one more time, then place on the grill; brush a couple of tablespoons with the Barbera sauce over it, reserve the rest of the sauce. For rare meat, grill about 3 minutes a side for steaks less than an inch thick. For larger or more done steak, increase the time slightly.
Rest the steak for 10 minutes and slice at a diagonal, against the grain. Serve with the chopped parsley and the reserved sauce on the side.
Silvia Baldini is a former advertising art director and an Italian-born classically trained chef known for her work with popular Italian ingredients. She is a Chopped Champion on Food Network and the founder of The Secret Ingredient Girls and Strawberry & Sage. Following a distinguished and award-winning career as an Art Director on Madison Avenue, Silvia pursued culinary training at ICC in NYC and graduated first in class at Cordon Bleu in London.
Her work and recipes have been published in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Parents Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Thrillist, Country Magazine, Saveur, The Wall Street Journal and The Independent. Her TV appearances include CNN, ABC, and Dr. Oz. She is a frequent keynote speaker and industry panelist, sharing extensive experience in the food and media industry. Silvia believes that wholesome cooking and traditional wisdom combined with modern technology will be the key to living a happy and healthy life.