When you’re in the mood for Asian flavors, don’t head for takeout. Try this recipe for flank steak with ginger balsamic marinade. It’s a favorite with my clients and family. After slicing the meat into thin strips and a short marinade in ginger, soy sauce, sake, agave syrup, garlic and balsamic vinegar, this ginger flank steak is ready in just minutes.
Maybe it was the ever-present bottle of teriyaki marinade in my mom’s refrigerator or maybe it was the fact that I studied with an Asian Executive Chef. Whatever the history, I’m a big fan of Asian flavors, and anything with ginger tops the list.
Flank steak is a lean choice for beef lovers. It’s not really a steak, but a single piece of muscle. Flank comes in one long, sort of oval shaped piece that is wider at one end and tapering at the other. It’s easily identifiable by the long grain that runs the length of the muscle. When cooked, it’s a little chewy and has great flavor. Marinating adds flavor and also tenderizes the meat.
Flank steaks usually run around 1¼ – 2 pounds each. Figure about 6 ounces per person for a serving. As you buy a whole piece of flank steak and not a cut, you can’t always get just the amount you need. I’ll buy extra, knowing that any leftovers will make a great lunch the next day. Just pile leftover flank steak on fresh salad greens and dress with Balsamic vinaigrette.
Slice and Marinate
Slice the flank steak across the grain into ½” thin strips with a sharp knife. Place in a covered bowl or plastic zip bag and add the marinade. Allow to stand for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature to soak up great flavor.
After marinating, cook it quickly in a hot pan. As flank steak is lean, don’t overcook it to maintain tenderness. Serve with brown rice and steamed sugar snap peas for a healthy, Asian-inspired dinner with big flavors.
Ying & Yang Living Shoot
In April, I had the great experience and opportunity to demonstrate this recipe for an Asian lifestyle pilot show called Ying & Yang Living. The initial cooking segment was filmed in our home kitchen.
The house was crawling with people, lights, cameras and action for some 11 hours. After it was over the Director of Photography (Stuart Lilas) grinned broadly and said “you know what they say, never let a Hollywood film crew into your house”. We’re glad we did! It was so much fun. The crew was a terrific team of talented and dedicated professionals. It was fascinating participating in the creative and technical process. Lots of work!
Slice the flank steak across the grain into thin strips, marinate and cook quickly in hot pan. Add steamed brown rice and sugar snap peas for a healthy dinner with tasty Asian flavors. Leftovers make a great steak salad the next day. Halve this recipe for 2 servings or double for a bigger group. Sake can be purchased in small bottles if its something you don’t often use. For a substitution try dry vermouth or for no alcohol, beef broth. Inspired by a recipe in Bon Appétit, March 2002.
- ½ cup (120 ml) low sodium soy sauce or tamari (wheat free)
- ½ cup (120 ml) sake
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey or agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) ginger puree from a jar, (organic with no high fructose corn syrup)
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped chives
- 1 ½ – 2 pounds flank steak (700 grams – 1 kilo), well trimmed of any fat
- Make the marinade by combining soy sauce through chives.
- Slice the flank steak across the grain into ½” (1 1/2 cm) wide strips. If the steak is very wide, you can slice it in half lengthwise with the grain first, then cross grain into strips. Place steak in a bowl, mix with marinade, then cover with plastic and allow to stand 45-60 minutes at room temperature. You can also mix it in a zip bag, press out the air and marinate.
- Heat a large non-stick sauté or fry pan over medium heat. Drain marinade from steak through a sieve and set aside. Lay steak strips flat in the hot pan; don’t crowd them. Cook until one side is a browned and getting caramelized edges. Flip the pieces over and cook just briefly, then remove to a rimmed baking sheet or plate. Repeat with the other pieces until done.
- Note – If you want extra sauce to drizzle over the steak, place the raw marinade in a small pan and bring to a boil for a few minutes to kill any raw meat bacteria. Boil it down but be careful not to let it burn away.
- For a quick vegetable side dish – Drop sugar snap peas into boiling, salted water for 3 minutes, drain and serve. If you have snap peas left over, add them to a steak salad the next day. It’s also delicious served with mushrooms. I like to use shitakes with this recipe. Slice and cook in the same pan as the flank steak to pick up the flavors. You may need a little oil (try coconut oil) in the pan to cook the mushrooms. Sometimes I’ll add a tablespoon of finely chopped shallots towards the end of cooking for extra flavor.
- About the vegetables I did for Ying & Yang Living – To make the vegetables I did for the show, quarter mushroom, thinly slice sweet peppers and slice asparagus. Cook them in the same pan to absorb all of the good flavors from the meat juices. You may need to add just a little coconut oil. Splash with sake and cook down to finish and glaze the vegetables.