Flank Steak a la Rocco
Today I got a chance to try one of the recipes from Rocco DiSpirito’s Real Life Recipes, the book I got last weekend at Foxwoods. It’s actually called Flank Steak Forestiere and it is available here, at the end of this interview he did with Taste of the Seacoast. Read the interview – it’s interesting. I was curious about all the brand names Rocco references in the book, and he reveals that it’s not product placement but is just his favorite, or what he feels works best for each recipe. I went from slightly offended by commerciality to appreciative of his honesty. I’ve always thought it was kind of ridiculous for recipes to call for something like “round buttery crackers” instead of just coming out with it – they’re Ritz, darn it!
Rocco says to cut the flank steak in three equal pieces, which is hard to do with the irregular shape flank steak usually comes in. I decided to cut the ends a little wider than the middle and try to go for equal weight rather than equal shape.
Each piece is browned on both sides in butter and then set aside, and the butter becomes dark golden brown. Meanwhile, I prepared the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. I stayed pretty true to Rocco’s recipe, but I did use baby bella mushrooms instead of white buttons.
I think they have more flavor than the white buttons, not to mention a cute name that reminds me of my friend Leigh’s dog!
Once the steak was all browned, it was time to add some more butter and the onions, garlic and mushrooms to the pan.
This smelled fabulous almost immediately. The next ingredient was unexpected – 3 tablespoons of brown sugar (Rocco calls for dark, I only had light.) It quickly melted into the mixture and then I added the wine and tomatoes.
I don’t own a nice dutch oven (hint, hint, Santa!), so I hoped this was all going to fit into my largest non-stick ovenproof saute pan. Apparently, I was so distracted by finding the ideal placement of the beef in the pan, I completely forgot one of the instructions – covering the pan before it went in the oven. Ooops. About 9 minutes into the 12 minutes in the oven, I remembered. I wondered if it was even worth it at that point, but went ahead and popped a lid on and hoped I hadn’t dried out the meat.
It looked pretty good when I removed it from the pan to rest. The sauce did seem a little soupy, so I cooked it a little more on the stovetop.
I was pleased when I cut into the meat and it wasn’t overcooked. So, maybe my little lid mistake didn’t do much harm.
I served it alongside some parmesan polenta, because I love polenta with anything juicy. Unfortunately, I think I let that sauce reduce down a little too much and it wasn’t particulary juicy any more. But! The meat was tender, and the flavor of the sauce was unusually delicious. The sweetness was strange to me with steak, but it was savory at the same time and somehow worked very well together.
I think I’m going to like this cookbook – and not just for the pictures!