Southwestern Grilled Flank Steak – The Hit of Any Barbecue
I have tasted Tex-Mex food, California-Mex food, and food that masquerades as Southwestern food. What is Southwestern food, anyway?
The “Betty Crocker Southwest Cooking” book defines it as cuisine that originated in three American states, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Many groups contributed to Southwestern food: Spanish missionaries, Americans headed westward, and Native American tribes. According to the cook book, “The birthplace of southern cuisine is a patchwork of mesa and mountain, semiarid with an unforgiving climate.” “Out of this stern land has come delicious food painted bright with bold sauces …”
Cynthia Detterick-Pineda writes about this cuisine in “The Heart and Soul of Southwest Cooking,” published on the What's Cooking America Website. Southwestern cooking originated in Mexico, “says Detterick-Pineda, and it is based on common ingredients: avocados, beans, corn, chocolate, fish, peanuts, hot peppers (mainly jalapeno), potatoes, squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, vanilla, and small amounts of wild game.
New Mexico added cilantro, hominy, long green chile peppers, red peppers, pine nuts, and squash, notes Detterick-Pineda. Tex-Mex cuisine has cowboy effects, such as sour cream, beef, cumin, and even olives. “Tex-Mex was fusion just waiting to happen,” says Detterick-Pineda. California made its contribution to Southwestern cooking by adding fresh vegetables, fruits, and shredded meats.
I like most Southwestern cooking, but am not a fan of hot peppers or cilantro. So I created this marinade for flank steak, which is one of the most versatile cuts of meat you can buy. Kids love this steak because of its sweetness. Adults love it because it is low fat and flavorful. Put Southwestern Grilled Flank Steak on your menu today. Serve with corn muffins and quinoa salad made with chopped avocados, scallions, tomatoes, cilantro (or flat-leaf parsley), and lemon-vinegar dressing. (Substitute rice or pasta for the quinoa, a grain from the Andes, if your grocery store does not have it.) Now that's good eating!
2-pound flank steak
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
juice and zest of one lime
3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
Using a sharp knife, score meat in a cross-hatch pattern on both sides. Be careful not to cut through the steak. Combine brown sugar, garlic, thyme, lime juice, lime zest, and olive oil in a plastic zipper bag. Add meat and marinate in refrigerator for three hours or more. Grill steak on a gas or charcoal grill (charcoal is best) until the meat is medium rare. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing on the diagonal. Makes 6-8 servings.
Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson