Food & dining

Seasonal Recipes

Recipe: For a crowd, serve a grilled flank steak with an aromatic Italian herb sauce

Sally Pasley Vargas for the Boston Globe

When you have a crowd to feed, grilled flank steak with a zesty Italian herb sauce is your ticket to a stress-free menu. Flank steak is a long, flat cut of beef with a pronounced grain and a hefty beef flavor. To get the most out of this lean cut, have a meat thermometer handy and cook the meat to rare (125 degrees) or medium rare (130 degrees), then let it rest so the juices stay in. Meat juices rush to the surface during cooking, but with resting, they have time to retreat back into the meat instead of spilling onto the cutting board. Bear in mind that the temperature will rise a few degrees as the steak rests. Cut it on a diagonal and against the grain into thin slices.

This sauce is a classic Italian salsa verde, not to be confused with the Mexican sauce of the same name. Where the Mexican version is made with tomatillos and chile peppers, the Italian sauce combines capers, mustard, lemon juice, anchovies, parsley, rosemary, and a surprise ingredient — mint. Chop everything by hand to achieve the slightly rough texture that makes this aromatic sauce so appealing. Have some restraint with the garlic, since raw garlic gets stronger as it sits and could overpower the sauce. It comes together in a festive, fun, and piquant green bowl that turns a simple grilled steak into party food. SALLY PASLEY VARGAS

Grilled flank steak
with Italian herb sauce

Serves 4

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SAUCE

2tablespoons lemon juice
2teaspoons Dijon mustard
Black pepper, to taste
4tablespoons olive oil
2tablespoons water
1small clove garlic, thinly sliced
4anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
3tablespoons capers, drained
4(½-inch-wide) lemon rind strips, peeled with a vegetable peeler
1packed cup fresh parsley leaves
½packed cup fresh mint leaves
2stems fresh rosemary, leaves stripped off
1lemon, cut into wedges (for serving)

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1. In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice, mustard, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil. When it is combined, whisk in the water.

2. On a cutting board with a large knife, mix the garlic, anchovies, capers, and lemon rind; chop them together until the mixture is fine. Transfer to the lemon-oil mixture.

3. Mound the parsley, mint, and rosemary on the cutting board and chop them until they are medium-fine. Don’t pulverize them; the sauce should have a bit of texture. Transfer to the bowl and stir with a spatula.

STEAK

pounds flank steak
Olive oil (for brushing)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving

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1. Light a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to high.

2. Brush the steak on both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. When the coals have turned gray or the gas grill is very hot, cook the steak for 3 to 4 minutes on a side, or until a meat thermometer registers 125 degrees (rare) or 130 degrees (medium rare), or cook a few minutes longer for well done meat. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes.

4. Slice the steak on a diagonal against the grain into thin slices. Top with the salsa and serve with lemon.
Sally Pasley Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at sally.p.vargas@gmail.com.