Living in the high desert in northern Arizona, there are few days when it's too cold to cook outside on the grill. Pretty much the only thing that keeps me to firing up the grill instead of the oven is when I run out of propane. Yes, I love cooking with charcoal - I love the flavor, I love the screaming hot heat (my propane grill is a bit on the lower-end of the BTU scale) but I'm often cooking for one and haven't yet invested in a smaller, more intimate grill and I hate to waste all that smokey heat ...
So mostly, I'm grilling with propane, of which I was dreadfully out of a couple weeks ago as I sat drooling onto my tablet reading Food and Wine's Vindaloo Flank Steak recipe, adapted from Chef Meherwan Irani. Vindaloo, originally derived from a Portuguese dish of meat marinated in wine and garlic, has been modified by substituting vinegar for the wine and adding red Kashmiri chillies with additional spices to evolve into what we now know as the Anglo-Indian version; meat marinated in vinegar, sugar, fresh ginger and spices overnight, then cooked in additional spices.
Long story short, it's a dish with a HUGE amount of flavor, and this particular recipe featured slathering a vindaloo marinade all over a piece of flank steak, then tossing that puppy on the grill.
I was first in line for propane the following morning.
I've included F&W's exact steak recipe below, as well as a simple herby yogurt spread I dolloped onto the sliced steak before stuffing it (gently) into grilled naan bread with some crunchy greens.
A fantastic recipe for kicking off the grilling season and one you should try this weekend.
Vindaloo Flank Steak Wraps
Adapted ever so slightly from Food and Wine
8 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and wiped clean
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger (2 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
One 1 1/2-pound flank steak
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Warm naan, za'atar spice, herby yogurt (below), greens and lime wedges, for serving
- In a saucepan, toast the chiles, cumin seeds and peppercorns over moderate heat, turning the chiles, until pliable and the cumin is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water and the vinegar, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, cloves and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring just to a boil. Let stand off the heat until the chiles are soft, about 30 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
- Transfer the chile mixture to a blender and puree to a smooth paste. In a baking dish, spread the paste all over the steak and refrigerate for at least a few hours but preferably overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes before grilling.
- Light a grill and brush with oil. Scrape some of the marinade off the steak, then season the meat with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125°, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the steak to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Brush the naan bread with butter and sprinkle with za'atar spice. Grill one to two minutes each side, just long enough to warm the bread and develop some lovely grill marks. Thinly slice against the grain and serve with warm paratha, yogurt and lime wedges.
The vindaloo paste can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- 1 cup plain yogurt (regular or greek, your choice)
- 1 tsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp chopped mint
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- salt and pepper to taste