Sometimes a sauce can make a meal. In the case of a steak dinner, which is already likely to be a good meal, the right sauce can make it much better.
When you hear the words “steak sauce,” what often comes to mind is a tall, slim bottle, filled with a pungent Worcestershire-sauce-based liquid that usually overpowers the steak rather than enhancing it.
That needn’t be the case. There are any number of sauces that can bring out the best in a grilled piece of meat. The best choices are usually sauces with a lot of flavor, ones that can hold their own with the smoky beefiness of the steak.
Of course, many of us think of a good red wine sauce when it comes to steak, and that works well if you’re searing your steak in a pan, because the sauce itself is made in the same pan and picks up the flavors left behind by the steak. If you’re grilling, though, there is no pan involved, so a pan sauce makes less sense. The good news is there are still lots of options.
Smoky Romesco sauce: This tomato, roasted pepper, almond and smoked paprika sauce brings out the flavors of the grill and lends a slight sweetness to the steak. Make sure you serve a good crusty bread with this meal as you’ll want to soak up every drop on your plate.
Blue cheese butter: Not technically a sauce, this compound butter, a combination of unsalted butter, blue cheese, a touch of garlic and freshly ground black pepper, melts over the warm steak and adds a richness and earthy flavor to the dish. Any leftover butter can be smeared on a slice of baguette or added to a baked potato.
Chimichurri: An Argentine sauce — and they know steak — this parsley, cilantro, oregano, garlic, vinegar and olive oil sauce packs a serious flavor punch, so much so that it can be a little too much to taste right off the spoon. Ladled over a slab of grilled steak, though, it’s heaven.
Italian salsa verde: Like chimichurri, Italian salsa verde is a potent blend of parsley, garlic and olive oil, but in place of cilantro, oregano and vinegar, anchovies, lemon juice and capers are added. The result is a sauce that has the perfect blend of salt and acid that cuts through the richness of the steak while still letting the star of the show shine.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @meredithdeeds.
Grilled Flank Steak with Italian Salsa Verde
Note: Italian salsa verde, not to be confused with Mexican salsa verde, is a powerhouse of flavors that complements the beefy grilled flank steak perfectly. From Meredith Deeds.
• 1 c. packed, roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp. capers, drained
• 2 anchovy fillets
• 1 tbsp. lemon juice
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
• 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
• 1 1/4 lb. flank steak
In the bowl of a food processor, combine parsley, olive oil, capers, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse until parsley is well chopped, but not completely puréed, about 8 quick pulses, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside while you prepare the steak. (If you prefer, you can mince the parsley, capers, anchovies, garlic and lemon zest finely with a knife and combine them with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.)
Heat a grill to medium-high heat.
Season the steak with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place steak on the grill and cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain on the diagonal. Serve steak with the sauce.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 355 Fat 23 g
Sodium 700 mg Carbohydrates 2 g
Saturated fat 4 g Total sugars 0 g
Protein 36 g Cholesterol 90 mg
Dietary fiber 1 g
Exchanges per serving: 5 lean protein, 2 ½ fat.