“Why don’t we have this more often?” Taylor asked me one night. He did not waste any time to express himself as he was asking the question before he finished chewing on his first bite. He was referring to flank steak marinated in a sherry and soy sauce marinade. I did not really have an answer for him, and I had to reflect on the question myself. Why not? I used to make it every time I cooked flank steak. This marinade adds a lot of flavor to flank steak and is also great to marinate skirt steak and pork tenderloin.
This sherry marinade brings back a strong food memory for my family as well. Years ago we were visiting friends in Wellfleet, MA for the weekend and for a food contribution I brought skirt steak marinating in the sherry marinade. Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control the skirt steak was left marinating in this sherry marinade for over 48 hours, (something that I do not recommend because it could turn your meat mushy.) We desperately grilled the steak at the last hours of our vacation and made sandwiches to bring to the beach.
I can see that afternoon so clearly: sitting on the beach at the National Seashore in Wellfleet, relaxing and soaking in the sun, wishing we did not have to leave, watching my kids and our friends body surfing the waves, taking one last dive to feel the crisp ocean waters. There is something about this place fills my soul and completely relaxes me.
The sandwiches were simply prepared with grilled steak on hamburger buns and devoured instantly. We could have had 1oo sandwiches and it would not have been enough. The skirt steak was tender not mushy, (phew) and the sandwiches had a lingering well-rounded sweet, salty and meaty taste that completely satisfied and made you crave more.
Maybe it was the fresh seaside air and the cool ocean water that contributed to our collective memory, but the flavor of the grilled skirt steak sandwiches defined umami. Taylor posed a good question to me: something so good needs to be served on a regular basis, with or without the National Seashore in Wellfleet as an excuse.
Grilled sherry marinated flank steak will hit your umami sense as well, and like Taylor you will begin to crave this steak for a regular meal. If you are lucky to have leftovers the grilled steak can be used in salad, sandwiches, tacos, fajitas, or in a stir-fry. For me, I look forward to the leftover steak sandwiches more than the flank steak dinner. It is a quick and easy dinner, and with a bit of advanced preparation can easily fit into a weeknight dinner menu. If you do not own a grill, flank steak can be prepared on the stove in a grill pan or under the broiler. Cooking times will vary due to how hot your grill, pan or broiler are, so watch the steak because it does not take long to cook.
I came across the recipe for this marinade watching BBQ with Bobby Flay on Food Network possibly 12 years ago. It caught my attention because I was on the prowl for ways to jazz up pork tenderloin. The original recipe from the episode that I watched is, Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Guava Glaze and Orange Habanero Mojo. However, the current recipe on the website no longer has the marinade part of the recipe. My own age and kids age do not make me feel old, but searching for an old recipe on Food Network does. It has been around for so long they do not even have it in their archives. I know it was there. I wrote it down on a scrap piece of paper and have kept it in my files ever since.
Tips for cooking steak:
Eliminate the cooking time by taking the meat out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking. This will bring the meat up to room temperature and will need less time on the heat.
Use recipes as a guideline for cooking time. There are too many variables that will affect how long it will take to cook your specific piece of meat using your specific equipment.
Dry the meat before putting on the pan or grill. The drier the exterior the better the meat will sear or brown.
Cook meats on the grill in two phases using direct and indirect heat. First cook the steak on direct heat to get a good sear on the outside. After a couple of minutes per side, move the steak to a place on your grill that is not directly over the coals, or flame, to finish cooking the interior of the steak using indirect heat.
Do not over cook the steak. It is best served on the rare to medium rare side. Internal temperature for meat that is rare is 125-130 degrees F, medium rare range is 130-140 degrees F. Steak cooked to 150 degrees F or higher, will be well done and dry.
Let the steak rest for 5 to 15 minutes after cooking and before carving and eating. The moisture in the steak will circulate through the meat and keep the steak moist.
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