The Great Flank Steak Disaster

Tomato Salad with Basil, Scallions, and Olive Oil

See that picture up there? What a cute little salad. Just a simple mix of snappy farmers’ market tomatoes, fresh basil, and scallions, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. One look at this picture and you might think I created a lovely dinner the other night. With a dazzling side dish like this, how could anything go wrong?

Well, everything did. You see, I tried to cook flank steak. However, red meat and I do not get along. I like to eat it but I cannot cook it. I fail every time and nothing makes me feel worse. It’s almost as bad as when the dentist tells me I have a cavity. 

Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic. In any case, Tuesday’s meaty mishaps were entirely my fault, part of an effort to put a speedy dinner on the table by cutting some corners along the way.

My night of infamy began when I returned home from work and saw that the hefty flank steak in the refrigerator had not completely defrosted. Problem #1. But instead of patiently waiting for it to thaw, I went ahead and rubbed the meat with olive oil and spices and then threw it back in the fridge to marinate for an hour. When I took it out of the fridge for the second time, it was still a cold brick. Problem #2. Or maybe Problem #1.5, since this still-frozen meat was really an extension of Problem #1. Oh who cares, I can’t keep count.

Anyway, ignoring everything I had ever read about how meat should be defrosted and brought to room temperature before cooking, I threw the beef under the broiler. I hoped I could beat the system by simply cooking the still-frozen steak for a little longer than the prescribed ten minutes. So I cooked it for twelve. Brilliant.

When I took it out of the broiler, the meaty slab looked gorgeous and perfectly browned. “That smells great,” said Jim. I beamed with pride. I touched the meat with my finger, and the beef joyously bounced underneath. Should I get the meat thermometer? I thought. I looked at the steak again. No, it’s perfect. I’ve finally done it.

After resting the steak under foil for five minutes, I confidently started to slice it. But then my muscles tensed as the deceiving brown exterior revealed a pink, raw interior. Oh no, not again. I threw it back in the broiler, my face as red as the uncooked meat. I must have removed and returned that stupid piece of beef to the broiler three or four times. Yes, that’s right, it was a stupid piece of beef, I said it.

I finally committed the ultimate act of destruction: I cut the whole steak into slices and finished them under the broiler just so we could sit down and eat. At this point I had been preparing dinner for an hour and forty-five minutes. For what? For dried little hockey pucks that required at least one hundred chews before swallowing.

I’d show you a photo of it all, but it’s really too depressing. Instead, just enjoy the bouncy little tomatoes. And please, learn from my mistakes.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Alysia said,

    Oh well – you’re still a far better cook than the majority of the population. Red meat happens to be your white whale, but I’m confident you’ll bludgeon it eventually. At least you don’t salt everything to the point your cooking could attract entire families of deer.


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