We regularly feature a flank steak at Caffè Dolce, and it is invariably one of our top selling dinner entrees. And for good reason: it packs incredible flavor and grills beautifully, while being a relatively economical cut of meat. This summer, however, our flank’s popularity has plummeted! (Which is a pity, because this steak preparation is stunningly good– one of, if not my all time favorite flank preparations that we’ve ever offered)
The menu reads as follows:
GRILLED FLANK STEAK
all-natural flank steak, with roasted radish, wilted arugula & a mint and anchovy vinaigrette
Without question, people are untrusting of the “anchovy” bit in the description. And I get it. Countless many of us have been introduced to anchovies on frightening terms: mass market curing resulting in a salty, pungent, and odorous fish that can leave a bad taste in the mouth and turn people into anchovy haters.
Knowing that all anchovies are not created equal, though, is the prompt for this post. Cooks who source quality anchovies can use them with dazzling effect, to add depth of flavor and zippy savoriness to countless many dishes. At Dolce we source Spanish white anchovies. The ‘white’ refers to their being marinated in white vinegar, before being packed in olive oil. The fish is relatively mild, and picks up a bright almost pickley flavor, with a slight saltiness. They are not only edible, but delicious.
Back to the topic at hand. The flank steak.
This summer, Chef Andrew prepared our flank with a stunning, zippy vinaigrette. In Andrew’s words: “The idea for the anchovy-roasted garlic-mint vinaigrette came from the very traditional condiment that is commonly paired with meat in Italian Cuisine, called gremolata. Gremolata is a light relish of chopped herbs, garlic, red onion, lemon, and often times, anchovies. I chose to take the strongest flavors from a traditional gremolata and really bring them to the forefront of the sauce. Our marinated white anchovies have a really nice flavor without the overwhelming saltiness of a normal canned anchovy and gave the perfect base for the vinaigrette. Using roasted instead of raw garlic allowed me to use a ton of garlic without risking the raw garlic bite, giving the vinaigrette its almost creamy quality. I like using mint in a lot of our dishes for the same reason I add some to the vinaigrette right at the end, it gives the perception of lightness to otherwise heavy items.”
The flank steak is a beef steak cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. A relatively long and flat cut. It can be tough if not treated with some simple rules: be sure to let it rest after cooking, and cut it into thin strips against the grain.
Ours is marinated, lightly seasoned and grilled. We serve it with vinaigrette described above, alongside lightly roasted radishes and wilted arugula. It is summery, bold, and insanely delicious. And for a $23 steak, life is good.
To bump it up one more notch, pair it with our featured Sicilian red:
Occhipinti, “SP68,” 2012.
This one is Jerod’s call. In his reasoning, this red is funky and fresh, just like the dish. It will pair both with the fish in the sauce and it is punchy enough to stand up flavorful grilled meat.
Finally – for reading about anchovies and Sicilian wine, you get two bonuses. I want you to try this dish before it leaves the summer menu. If you order it this week 9/16 – 9/21, your first glass of (the Sicilian) wine is on us. The offer is for Facebook or Blog Followers only! Just mention to your server. If you’re not a blog follower already, subscribe to the right of this post.
Second, here’s Andrew’s recipe for you to try at home:
Marinated White Anchovy-Roasted Garlic-Mint Vinaigrette Recipe
– 1 cup lightly roasted garlic cloves, pureed into a smooth paste (yields 1/2 cup of paste)
– 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
-1/2 cup water
– 1/2 cup minced (almost mashed) marinated white anchovies
– 2 Tablespoons of the anchovy marinade
– 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil (don’t use your best oil as the flavor won’t really come through anyway)
– 1/4 cup minced mint leaves
– pepper to taste (probably just pepper as the anchovies will be a little salty anyway)
Mix the water, vinegar, garlic puree, anchovy and marinade in a medium mixing bowl with a whisk. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. This is a “broken vinaigrette” so it probably won’t look emulsified after adding in all the oil. Finish with the chopped mint and season to taste. Shake or stir it well before spooning over meats or mixing with salads, it also goes great with beets.