Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grilled Flank Steak with Roasted Poblanos and Grilled Onions

* We were so hungry by the time we got to dinner that I completely forgot to take a picture but the photo is a pretty good representation of the flank steak...

I have been a slug recently when it comes to blogging. I hope you can forgive. Anyway here is a recipe that my lovely wife and I enjoyed last night for date night that was so easy and unbelievably delicious. I am partial to Mexican food and fortunately for me there enough variations to accomodate my lovely wife's rather diverse palate (ie. she doesn't like to have too much of one type of food.) This particular recipe in the original form is on the Food Network site. I will give you my version because to be quite honest I think I could give Emeril a run for his money... (just kidding Emeril)

I should also point out that I personally LOVE the flavor of lime and when I see it in a recipe my first inclination is to "double it". That is almost exactly what I have done in altering this recipe especially in regards to the marinade. I thought it worked very well but if you aren't a lime fan just dial it back a little and up the olive oil...

3/4 cup finely chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup lime juice plus the juice of 1/2 lime for the poblano/onion mixture
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
4 poblano chiles
1 large sweet onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
Bamboo skewers (two per onion slice)
10-12 flour tortilla
2 limes, cut into wedges, optional


In a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the chopped onion, the garlic, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lime juice, cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Process until smooth.

Place the flank steak in a shallow non-reactive dish and spoon the marinade over the meat. Turn the steak so that both sides of the meat are in contact with the marinade and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

While the meat is marinating, prepare the poblanos: Place the poblanos over a direct flame and roast, turning occasionally with tongs, until the skin is charred and blistered all over. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes. Remove the poblanos and, when cool enough to handle, carefully remove the charred skin by rubbing with your fingers. Remove the stems and any seeds and, if necessary, rinse briefly under cool running water to remove any remaining skin. Slice the poblanos into thin strips and place in a small mixing bowl. Set aside at room temperature for up to 2 hours, until ready to serve the tacos.

Preheat a grill to high. Place the onion slices on a flat surface and insert two bamboo skewers into the concentric rings in order to hold the rings together on the grill. Using two skewers prevents the onion from spinning around when you try to flip it. Brush the slices on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil and place the onion slices on the grill. Grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on the edges and soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the skewers from the onion slices and add the onions to the poblanos, separating the onion rings with your fingers. Toss to combine. Add the lime juice from 1/2 a lime and season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside until ready to serve the tacos.

Remove the meat from the marinade and shake or use a spoon to remove any excess. Rub the meat all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and season on both sides with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Grill the steak, turning once, to the desired degree of doneness; for medium rare, this should be about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Side note: For flank steak, medium rare is really the only option. Those a bit squeemish about the sight of blood in their steak should probably not try this recipe since over-cooking the flank steak will make the meat very tough and noboby else at the party will like it. If it helps, flank steak is a thinner cut of meat and there is no danger in preparing to medium rare.

While the meat is resting, heat the flour tortillas as instructed on the package. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm. You can also use corn tortillas but for this dish I prefer the flour.

When the meat has rested, slice against the grain into very thin strips and serve, with the warm tortillas, poblano-onion mixture and crema. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
I paired this dish with a nice inexpensive (under $10) Malbec from Argentina called 'Conquista' and we had chips and salsa to start. Rick Bayless/Fronterra Kitchen's has some of the best salsa's that you can buy off the shelf at your local grocery. We tried the Mango Key Lime salsa and it was delicious with this meal.
(We also had mango slices but since I am TERRIBLE at finding ripe mangos I won't review them here. Next time I will send my lovely wife to pick out the mangos because I obviously have no clue... :)