Seasonal Alignment

It’s summer in Tucson.

That is like saying it’s winter in Antarctica.

But I love it. It’s hot, dry, and slow.

Until monsoon season, that is, when stupefying hot collides with indescribable wet. Between dazzling electrical shows, though, it’s still slow.

When we lived back East, grilling season was summer and it was brief. The grill came out Memorial Day and was put away after Labor Day... or maybe Columbus Day, if you were lucky.

Here in the Sonoran Desert, grilling is an all-season sport. Other than ever-changing seasonal vegetables, there is nothing to distinguish what meats get grilled in the summer from those which get grilled in autumn, winter, or spring.

Except, for some reason to me, steak sandwiches. They were a summer standard growing up in our home. Mom marinated, Dad grilled, and Mom sliced them, turning them into irresistible sandwiches with her special sauce.

Right now, it’s summer both here and back East. The seasons are aligned and it’s time for a steak sandwich, with some nice red wine. I paired the sandwich with a Côte-Rôtie. Head over to the Provence WineZine to read more about this wine.

An aside: I’m back to believing there’s a spy in my kitchen. I made this on Sunday, June 23rd and, on Monday morning, June 24th, Melissa Clark announced in The NY Times: Grilled Flank Steak with Worcestershire Butter. Seriously? Am I frightened? Flattered? Paranoid? I will go with flattered.

~ David

Grilled Steak Sandwich
(my recipes for Focaccia and Worcestershire sauce are linked below)

1 flank steak, roughly 1 1/4 pounds
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used Sicilian lemon white balsamic)
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 pieces
Focaccia, about 5-inches square, or 4 sandwich rolls

2 tablespoons
Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

First thing in the morning, prepare and marinate the steak. Place a double layer of aluminum foil — about 24 inches (60 cm) — on the counter. Place the steak in the middle.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, paprika, Dijon mustard, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper. Pour half the marinade on the steak and spread it evenly. Turn the steak and spread the other side with the remaining marinade. Wrap tightly in the foil (this keeps marinade on both sides) and place in the refrigerator to marinate for the day (overnight marinating is okay, too).

About an hour before serving, remove steak from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Heat your grill (charcoal or gas, or you can use a cast iron pan on the stovetop). About 12 minutes before serving, unwrap the steak and grill 3 minutes on one side, and 2 1/2 minutes on the other for medium rare. Place cooked steak on a cutting board, cover, and let sit 5 minutes.

To serve, prepare the sauce by heating the Worcestershire sauce and butter together until sizzling. Set aside. Slice the focaccia or rolls.

Flank steaks are a tough cut of beef and, in addition to being marinated at least 8 hours, they need to be sliced very thinly on a 45-degree angle against the grain; improper slicing will leave it tough.

Divide the sliced meat among the focaccia/rolls and top with a drizzle of the sauce. Serve with a green salad. 

Serves 4.

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