So I am one of the many followers of Food Lovas.  I always enjoy checking in every once in a while to see the latest creation and am always amazed at the high level of cooking and presentation that are posted.  Kerry had asked some of her friends and family if we wanted to come up with our own “post” for her blog.  Being a huge food “lova” myself, I couldn’t refuse and decided I needed to come up with something good.

The problem I always have when I cook is that I can never decide what to make when going through a cookbook.  There are always too many choices and I often find I’m missing several ingredients.  So lately I’ve noticed, rather than going through all the different recipes, I just seem to go to the supermarket instead, see what’s new or on sale, buy it and then try and make something of it.  Once I get home, I then look up a recipe either in my cookbooks or online.  This is a little counter productive, as I often end up returning to the grocery store to buy missing ingredients.

This is pretty much exactly what happened the other day.  I was out grocery shopping with my wife and son, and was going through the meat section.  I caught a glimpse of the flank steak out of the corner of my eye and it immediately intrigued me.  I thought to myself “I’m pretty sure I’ve had this cut of beef before either in a fajita or some other Mexican food, but I’ve never cooked it myself.”  Being up for something new and it was on sale, I decided to buy it and see what I could make of it.  As soon as I got home I pulled out my cookbooks and found four different recipes out of my favorite book – Weber’s Big Book of Grilling.  I decided to go with the one that included a salad as I am terrible at picking a matching side for a good entree.

I made sure to invite a friend over for dinner so as to have a third opinion.  All three of us were pleasantly surprised by the entire meal.  The right mix of cumin & chili powder made for an excellent rub that really gave the steak a “Mexican” taste.  The steak itself is very lean, however quite tough and even “chewy”.  This is a result of the cut and many recipes call for marinating the meat so as to help it tenderize. The rub is not overpowering in the slightest way and goes really well with the flavor of the beef.  The salad is light, crunchy and very refreshing.  Grilling the red onion really brings out the natural sweetness and takes the “edge” off.  The juices from the orange helped to enhance the flavor of the dressing and went surprisingly well with the jicama.  Even though none us are huge cilantro fans, we found it not to be too overbearing in the salad and was well complimented by the parsley.  All in all, we found this to be an extremely tasty, satisfying and healthy meal.

***Thanks to Tuna for the great guest blog! We needed some BBQ gracing the blog this summer.  And that Jicama salad, nice.  I can just taste it all now….(cue dream music)

Mexican flank steak with jicama – orange salad

The Rub:

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp granulated garlic (avoid garlic powder if you can, there is a difference)

1 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 flank steak, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds and about 3/4 inch thick

( I ended up doubling the rub as my flank steak weighed almost 2 kilos)

The dressing:

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (if you are not a big cilantro fan, like me, only use 1 tbsp cilantro, and add 1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley)

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp minced serrano chile, with seeds (feel free to throw in a little more for flavor as the serranoes aren’t too spicy)

For the salad:

1 small red onion, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices

extra virgin olive oil

2 cups jicama cut into matchsticks

4 oranges, peeled & sectioned

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

For the rub: In a small bowl combine the rub ingredients.  Trim the steak of any surface fat. Press the rub into both sides of the steak.  Cover the steak with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl whish together the dressing ingredients.

For the salad:  Lightly brush the onion slices with the olive oil.  Grill over medium heat until well marked and tender, approximately 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through grilling time.  Remove from the grill and chop into 1/2 inch pieces.  Place the onion in a medium bowl and add the jicama and orange segments.  Pour in the dressing, toss with two forks, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.  Serve at room temperature.

For the steak: Allow the steak to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling.  Brush or spray both sides of the steak with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Grill over medium heat until the internal temperature reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time.  Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 3 to 5 minutes.  Cut across the grain into thin diagonal slices.  Serve warm with the salad.