Like at many households, the birthday tradition in our home involves getting to pick what the family will have for dinner. As long as I can remember, my two boys have chosen pesto flank steak. It’s an easy recipe and one that my children now cook for their girlfriends. We use our blender pesto, but there are many fine pesto options available at the grocery store. Trader Joe’s sells a good affordable one, Genova Pesto, in their refrigerated section (although unlike ours, it contains walnuts, parmesan cheese, and canola oil).
Flank steak is a much more affordable but less tender cut of meat than a regular steak and must be marinated ahead of time to tenderize (mine was $7.99 a pound for vegetarian-fed Angus Beef from Oregon). Our marinade uses a rice wine vinegar and tamari (wheat-free soy) in equal portions, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and no sugar. In fact, the ingredients as a whole have so little natural sugar that this marinade is also carb-free.
You can marinate flank steak anywhere from 3-4 hours, or even longer if you have time. For convenience, we cook this recipe on the stove top in cast iron, but it can easily be done on an outdoor grill. Leftovers are delicious if you are lucky enough to have any!
Combine tamari, rice wine vinegar, cinnamon (and Sensei if you decide to boost flavor; you may reduce the tamari by the amount of sensei you add if you want a more-intense
marinade), in a shallow pan that will hold the flank steak. Or combine in a bowl and pour
into a gallon zip-lock bag. Add the flank steak and distribute marinade over all the meat. Refrigerate and turn meat over every hour so that all the sides of the meat get time in the marinade.
Remove the flank steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. The temperature
of the meat when it goes into the pan will affect cooking times.
Heat a 12” skillet over medium heat. When skillet is warm, coat the bottom with the high-heat oil. Add your flank steak and cook for about 6-7 minutes. Turn meat over and add ¼ cup pesto to the top of the steak. Cook for another 6-7 minutes and check temperature with a meat thermometer. Rare will be 125 degrees. If you are in doubt you may remove the flank
steak and cut it, on the diagonal, through the center. If it is too rare, return the flank steak to the pan and continue cooking for a few more minutes, covering with a lid if quite rare.
Remove from skillet and let the it rest on a carving board for a few minutes, then slice, on the diagonal. The end pieces will be more well done than the center. Your guests will have options on how well they like their meat cooked. Something for everyone!
An additional ¼ cup of pesto can be spread on the bottom of the serving platter underneath the cut flank steak, or distributed among the individual dishes as they are served.