Pan-Roasted Flank Steak with Garlic-Ginger-Sesame Marinade

January 17, 2012

Normally I barbecue flank steak, but with winter’s cold having finally set in I needed a new way to prepare it in my oven. Cook’s Illustrated’s claimed to have developed an acid-less marinade that would “really boost flavor without overtenderizing the meat”. As I prepared the marinade, my kitchen filled with delicious Asian aromas. My hopes were high, right up until I took my first bit. What a huge disappointment. There were very subtle hinds of ginger, but without any sauce the flavors were extremely muted. It was little more than the plain steak my mother used to cook when I was growing up. No flavor. Just plain old beef. This recipe is 2-1/2 stars; steak is rarely terrible; but there is little point in making a marinade when it imparts such a minimal amount of flavor.

Rather tasteless flank steak; big disappointment.

Next time I have flank steak, I’ll try to adapt this Latin Flank Steak recipe for my oven/broiler.


  1. Chris Kimball says that the marination time could be anywhere from 1 to 24 hours. I marinated for 6 hours, but the only way that this recipe should be attempted is with a full 24-hours. Still, I doubt I’ll make it again no matter how much lead time I have.
  2. At least the Flank Steak was on sale for just $4/lb, so the beef only cost $8.
  3. The recipe also requires 1/3 bottle of toasted sesame oil, but again barely imparts any flavor. After dinner as I was cleaning up the kitchen, I saw my nearly empty bottle and wished that I could have my sesame oil back.

Rating: 2-1/2 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time: Noon. Finish time: 6:30 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today are given below:

4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (1-1/2oz)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (3/4oz)
3 medium cloves garlic
2 medium scallions
3 tablespoons minced, fresh ginger (about a 3” piece)

1 flank steak (about 2 pounds)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. To prepare the marinade, mince your scallions, and peel and mince your ginger. Put in a blender, and pressed your garlic cloves directly into blender. Add sesame and vegetable oils to blender, and pulse into a smooth paste. You will need to scrape down the sides of the blender jars several times.
  2. Use paper towels to pat the steaks dry, then poke each side about 20 times with the tines of a fork. Place in large Pyrex baking dish. Evenly rub 1 teaspoon of kosher salt on each sides of steak.  Then evenly rub paste over entire steak. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for between 6 and 24 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 450-degrees and set an oven rack to the middle of your oven. Wipe all the paste off flank steak with paper towels. Sprinkle ground pepper over both sides of steak.
  4. Place a 12” oven-proof skillet over medium-high burner. Add oil to skillet and preheat until the oil just begins to smoke. When skillet if very hot, lay steak in skillet and brown for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip steak and brown the second side for another 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove skillet from stovetop and place in pre-heated oven. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes depending upon how well cooked you like your steak. Remove skillet from oven when it is slightly less done than desired (don’t forget to use potholders, as that handle is 450-degrees). Tent steak with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board, which will give the internal juices an opportunity to redistribute throughout the steak. Cut steak against the grain with a chef’s knife into 1/4″ slices, and serve immediately.

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