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The differences: Don’t confuse a flank or skirt steak with a London broil

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By Norm Harding, Reporter

Lean and boneless flank steak is one of only two steaks cut from the underside of a steer, the other being a skirt steak. It’s a thin, oblong cut mingled with tough meat fibers and loaded with great flavors.

A thin steak, it responds well to marinades and to high heat cooking, if only for a brief amount of time.

It tastes best when eaten medium-rare, so be sure to take it off the heat while it’s still rare. Allow the steak to set for a few minutes to retain its juices. It is essential the flank steak be cut into thin slices across the grain for maximum chewability.

Shaped more like a belt and a little more flexible than its cousin, a skirt steak can be stuffed and easily rolled, as well as being cooked flat. Either of these cuts can be substituted for the other in most recipes.

London broil is top round

A lot of people confuse a London broil with a flank steak. London broil is actually a “cooking method” but the term has been used for so long it’s now commonly referred to as a cut of beef.

Although many grocery store meat departments sell a cut of beef labeled “London broil,” it most often is a top round roast, which should be marinated for two to three days.

In Canada, a London broil is usually a ground meat patty (veal or sausage) wrapped in flank or round steak. Occasionally, bacon is sometimes added between the flank steak and the ground patty.

Grilled Marinated

Flank Steak

2 pounds flank steak

1/3 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Score the surface of the steak with 1/4-inch deep knife cuts, about an inch apart, across the grain of the meat. Combine the marinade ingredients. Place steak and marinade in a large freezer bag. Coat the steak well, and then seal the bag and place in a bowl. Chill and marinate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat grill to high, direct heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and sprinkle generously on all sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.

Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side (medium rare). Halfway through grilling on each side, turn the steak 90 degrees so that you get more grill marks.

Remove from the grill and cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Make very thin slices, against the grain, and at a slight diagonal so that the slices are wide.

Heat the excess marinade and bring it to a boil, simmer for several minutes, and serve with the flank steak. Makes 6 servings.

Pan Fried Skirt Steak

with Garlic Sauce

This is a great time to get out that cast iron skillet you haven’t used in a while. A flank steak can be substituted for this recipe, which is sometimes easier to find.

Whichever one you choose, cutting the cooked meat across the grain at a 45-degree angle is essential.

For the steak:

2 lbs. skirt steak, cut to manageable grilling sizes

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper

For the sauce:

1 medium garlic clove

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp. cayenne

Combine the steak spices in a small bowl. Pat the steak dry so that the surface is tacky, and then rub the spice mixture into both sides. Turn the burner on the stove to high under the cast iron skillet to get it heating.

Mince the garlic and mash to a paste with the salt and then transfer to a blender or mini-food processor; add the rest of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.

Rub the skillet with a little oil and grill the steak about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Once cooked and rested, slice thinly and drizzle with the sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Artichoke and

Orange Salad

A version of this recipe was printed in the April 1998 Bon Appetit magazine. It used fresh artichokes that needed to be trimmed and cooked and oranges that needed to be zested, peeled and sectioned.

Too much work for me! I substituted canned artichoke hearts, Mandarin oranges and prepared orange zest and it tastes just great!

2/3 cup orange juice

6 Tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil

4 Tbsps. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. orange zest

1 cup sliced green onions, green and white parts

2 cans (14 oz. each) artichoke hearts, drained, quartered

1 small can (11 oz.) Mandarin oranges

3/4 cups Kalamata olives

In a small bowl, mix oil, vinegar and orange juice. Add orange zest and mix well; season with salt and pepper. Add artichokes and onion. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, arrange artichokes and onions on platter. Garnish with orange slices and olives. Drizzle vinaigrette from bowl over salad. Makes 4 servings.

Corn and Green

Bean Casserole

2 cans white whole kernel corn, drained

1 can French style green beans, drained

1 onion, diced

1 can cream of celery soup

1 cup sour cream

4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

1 tube Ritz crackers, crushed fine

1 stick butter, melted

Mix corn and green beans together. Mix soup and sour cream together. Add to corn and green beans; add onions and cheddar cheese. Mix cracker crumbs and melted butter together.

Pour corn mixture into a 3 quart baking dish. Top with buttered crumbs. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 25 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.

Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.