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Flank Steak a la Rocco

October 26, 2009

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!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Leigh G permalink
    October 26, 2009 1:11 am

    I always thought that flank steak was tough but this looks so yummy I’m going to have to try it!

    My Baby Bella still thinks she’s a baby and still tries to hop up on my lap! I’m guessing she’s around 50 – 55 pounds now… not so baby anymore!! { sniff, sniff } 🙂

    • Jennifer A permalink*
      October 26, 2009 1:38 am

      I have found that it is all in how you handle flank steak. You definitely need to cut it against the grain, but it can be very tender and has great flavor. I use it for braciole and the Pioneer Woman’s steak sandwiches too!

  2. karma permalink
    October 26, 2009 8:09 pm

    I use flank steak a lot too, and don’t usually have an issue with it being tough. I use it for those Greek Steak Pitas I was telling you about that I like so much. I was wondering about this recipe too. Being an anti-fungus person, do you think it would still work out tasting okay without them, or would you say the shrooms are where you get the savory part of the flavor?

    • October 26, 2009 11:46 pm

      Interesting query. I am not quite sure, but I do know that the shrooms definitely add a lot of the volume/quantity to the dish. Maybe if you increased the quantity of the tomatoes and onions it would work. I am trying to think of another veggie you could substitute for the mushrooms but nothing is coming to mind. Anyone else have any ideas for the fungus-impaired?

    • renae permalink
      October 27, 2009 3:59 pm

      You’re going to have to send me something ’bout these Greek Steak Pitas, Willis.

  3. October 27, 2009 9:57 am

    This sounds REALLY good.

  4. renae permalink
    October 27, 2009 3:58 pm

    Dang, you people like your beef RARE. Mooooooooooo!

    • October 29, 2009 12:02 am

      It looks rarer than it was in that picture. I’d say it was closer to medium.

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