Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Sons Are Amazing...

this recipe made me sit up and say "whoa." not many do. no matter how many things i pick and how amazingly faboo they are, rarely do i swoon and say "whoa."

this is one of those.

while i, personally, adored it, it's because my sons FELL APART over it. really.

look or read, as it were:

friday, i got paid and went shopping for food. that first week of my once-a-month paycheck is like winning the lottery. every subsequent week is utilitarian, trust me. so, i picked up a large flank steak, thinking i had some sort of cookbook that would let me make something terrifkick with it, and brought it home. what i found, in another cookbook i use as much as Fannie Farmer called THE COMPLETE MEAT COOKBOOK by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, was Matambre or Rolled Flank Steak. i really adore this book. it is falling apart and full of oily, stained page from overuse. the little asides are well worth every bit of money you spend on this book, the recipes are WELL WORTH everything. when i got pregnant with my first son, i embraced meat once more (i was almost pure vegetarian before i got pregnant the first time) and if i'm gonna eat meat, it's gonna be well prepared and awesome. cuz, to be frank, eating meat is still not my favorite thing to do.

okay, so, i looked through the book and found Matambre. and i'll tell you how it all worked out in a minute.


flavor step: note: in this cookboook, there are these GREAT flavor steps, which explains how to season your meat to the best flavor possible. told you i love this book.
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsps salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1-1/2 to 2 pound flank steak (the largest you can find)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

matambre stufing
1/3 lb prosciutto, dry coppa, or cooked country ham, thinly sliced
lrg leaves from a bunch of spinach, stems removed, well washed
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup shopped fresh parsley
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tbs minced garlic
1/2 cup freshly minced parmesan
2 tbs olive oil

1 additional tbs olive oil (if roasting)

1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs2 tbs olive oil
1 cup fresh or canned fire-roasted red bell peppers or pimentos
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

what to do:
1. butterfly the flank steak (it horizontally leaving the meat attached at one end). open it out, cut side up. season the cut side lightly with salt and pepper.
2. to make the stuffing: lay the slices of ham or smoked meat over the cut side of the steak. lay the spinach leaves over teh slices. in a bowl, combine the basil, parsley, bread crumbs, garlic, cheese and olive oil. spread over the leaves and roll the steak up tightly like a jelly roll. tie the roll in several places and brush the outside all over the marinade.
3. to roast in the oven (which we did -- there are also directions for grilling, but you'll need to buy the book to get those. preheat the oven to 350ºF. heat the 1 tbs olive oil in large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. sear beef roll on ALL SIDES (yes. do it. really.) 6 to 8 minutes total. if the pan is ovenproof -- you'll know this if the handle is metal not plastic. if the handle is plastic, then find another roasting pan in which to put your seared beef -- place it into the oven. roast fro 20-30 minutes, check the internal temp. remove the meat when it reaches 120º to 130ºF. cover loosely with foil, let the matambre rest for 10 to 20 minutes. serve with the sauce.
4. make the sauce:
in a food processor, process the almonds to a thick paste. add the bread crumbs, olive oil, roasted peppers, and optional red pepper flakes and process until smooth. taste for salt and pepper.

what we did:

everything was pretty much the same, except we used whole wheat bread crumbs and we used a 2-1/2 pound flank steak. we monitored the time REALLY carefully, because, as i said, my oven is wack. we ended up roasting this, so we seared it in a pan and put it in the oven.

the report card? this rocked the house. the boys couldn't get enough and nicholas ate it before the game that solidified them as the 6th grade 2nd place team for their division. they won 44 to 14. i think the flank steak roll did it, don't you? :o)

elegance is often fun, really. i've been cooking a long ass time and the most elegant are often the most servicable and full of flavor, if you follow your passion.

i followed my passion and my amazing sons came along for the ride.

that was well worth it all.

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