This is an excellent recipe with three variations; in addition to the Garlic-Ginger-Sesame there is a Garlic-Shallot-Rosemary and a Garlic-Chile. Because this one has an Asian profile I serve Asian side dishes with it (like the stir-fried green beans below). The Chile one gets flour tortillas and maybe a Caesar salad. The Shallot-Rosemary variation is open to interpretation.

What makes all three of these recipes successful is that before the garlic paste goes on the meat is sprinkled with kosher salt and the whole thing marinates for 1-24 hours. The result is the most tender, flavorful flank steak I’ve ever made. As an added bonus, none of the variations take more than 5 minutes to put together and I usually do it the night before so that when I get home from work all I have to do is light a fire and grill it. Quick, delicious, attainable, satisfying: all important elements for weeknight dinners for me.

I served plain old white rice with this as well as Spicy Stir-Fried Green Beans with Scallions . If these green beans don’t absolutely wow you and remind you of the green beans in your favorite Szechuan place, I’ll give you a full refund.  You can get all of the ingredients for the beans ready while the steak cooks.  While it has its 5-10 minute rest, you can stir-fry the beans and everything will be ready at the same time.  So much culinary harmony!

Spicy Stir-Fried Green Beans with Scallions

Grilled Flank Steak with Garlic-Ginger-Sesame Marinade
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 4 to 6
Printable version

For Marinade:
3 medium cloves garlic
3″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium scallions, sliced thin (about 3 tablespoons)

For Steak:
1 flank steak (about 2 pounds), patted dry with paper towels
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. With the food processor running, drop the garlic and ginger into the bowl to mince.  Add remaining marinade ingredients and puree until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed.

2. Place steak on rimmed baking sheet or in large baking dish. Using dinner fork, prick steak about 20 times on each side. Rub both sides of steak evenly with salt and then with paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

3. Using large chimney starter, ignite about 6 quarts (1 large chimney, or 2 1/2 pounds) charcoal briquettes and burn until covered with thin coating of light gray ash, about 20 minutes. Empty coals into grill; build two-level fire by arranging coals to cover one half of grill. Position grill grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate for 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush.

4. Using paper towels, wipe paste off steak; season both sides with pepper. Grill steak directly over coals until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Using tongs, flip steak; grill until second side is well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using paring knife, make small cut into thickest part of meat; if meat is slightly less done than desired, transfer steak to cutting board (meat will continue to cook as it rests). If steak is significantly underdone, position so that thinner side is over cool side of grill and thicker side is over hot side; continue to cook until thickest part is slightly less done than desired, then transfer steak to cutting board.

5. Loosely tent steak with foil; let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Using sharp chef’s knife or carving knife, slice steak about 1/4 inch thick against grain and on bias. Serve immediately.