When I recently made fish (the amazing baked fish with paprika-lemon butter), Rob teased me by asking when I was going to make steak. To be honest, I had never made steak before. I grew up in a family that loved to cook (just read my About blurb and how my Caucasian mom would make the best sushi and my Japanese dad, the best daal and aloo gobi) but we rarely cooked red meat. We’ve always been big vegetable eaters and when we did have meat, it was most frequently fish or shrimp, since those are our favorites. Chicken and pork often graced our table but besides my mom’s amazing ribs, I don’t remember eating much red meat growing up. The idea of an all-American dinner of steak and potatoes (or any kind of meat and potatoes) is completely foreign to me.
So, when Rob requested steak, I was excited to take on the challenge. After sending out all-hands-on-deck requests for recipes, I decided to make one a wonderful new friend sent my way: her Mom’s Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak (which, with her changes and my naming alterations I’m calling Beer-Marinated Orange Ginger Flank Steak, recipe at the bottom of this post!).
I decided to make a feast and discovered that this dish was perfect for such an occasion, as the work was almost exclusively reserved for the night before. I gathered my marinade ingredients—an orange, scallions, freshly grated ginger, brown sugar, oil, salt, red pepper flakes, two bottles beer, and soy sauce—and steak (my friend suggested flank rather than skirt but either will do well) and went to work.
Preparing the steak was proof of my believe that if you can read, you can cook. Sure, there’s certainly a level of finesse, skill, and a sixth sense you develop the more you learn to really cook but everyone can make home-cooked food that tastes good. Any beginners out there, this is a great recipe to try. After preparing the orange and vegetables, all I needed to do was rub the steak with salt and pepper flakes, put half the ingredients in the marinading dish, lie the meat on top, add the rest of the ingredients (and beer and soy sauce at this point), wrap, and toss in the fridge.
My feast featured this steak as the main entree with Acme bread and a rosemary-thyme butter I mixed together, steamed green beans, rosemary-and-thyme roasted fingerling potatoes, and lemon cakes with lemon-vodka sauce, whipped cream, and blueberries for the dessert (which was as amazing as it sounds and for which I’ll post pictures and the recipe next!). With everything prepped in advance, it took exactly one hour from the time I arrived home until we were seated at the table clinking glasses.
I cooked the steak at 400F for five minutes on the first side, about six on the second, and then used the amazing finger test that another good friend and great cook told me about to determine the doneness. It was described to me as poking your finger to know how done the steak is (which made absolutely no sense to me since how does touching your finger tell you anything about your steak in the oven!?) but take a look at this link and you’ll understand. I used this test but then also made a slice to double check before I pulled the steak out of the oven. The ends were cooked to the perfect medium-rare I was going for; the center was a bit pinker than we would have liked but proved perfect for reheating (which then left took them to medium-rare as well). (Update: As a friend and reader pointed out, yes! you can sear first or cook on a grill for a darker, crispier, more steaklike appearance on the outside.)
The steak was wonderful—the ginger and soy sauce standing out as the bold notes with the orange, scallions, and beer as subtler but excellent supporting flavors—and we quickly ate up the rest as leftovers. Now I have one steak down and am excited to tackle the next (knowing that I am perhaps the only healthy home cook in America adding red meat to their diet—Meatless Monday could be half the days of my week—and still certainly being in acceptable ranges). But certainly give this one a try, especially you newbie cooks reading! Enjoy!
Beer-Marinated Orange Ginger Flank Steak
Many thanks to Eva for sharing this recipe with me and letting me post it!
1 orange, thinly sliced with peel
1 bunch scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 to 1-1/2 pounds flank (or skirt) steak
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 bottles beer, dark ale
In a wide, shallow, glass baking dish, scatter half of the orange slices, half of the scallions, and half of the ginger pieces on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle steak all over with salt and pepper flakes and place in dish. Scatter the remaining orange slices, scallions, and ginger over the steak. Mix the brown sugar in the soy sauce then pour the sugar-soy sauce mix and the two bottles of beer over the steak and marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge overnight.
Heat the oven to 400F. Cook steak for 6 minutes on each side then perform the finger test to check for medium-rare doneness. Enjoy!