Some steaks just aren’t meant to be cooked rare or medium-rare, and the flat iron is one of them. If it’s not cooked closer to medium, you end up chewing endlessly because the meat isn’t tender enough. Fortunately, flat iron cooks quickly, though this recipe does call for an overnight marinade.
This recipe also illustrates how important resting is. If you slice the steak immediately, it will still have a translucent red band around its interior and it will bleed everywhere. By letting it rest, it will continue to cook until it is medium and that red band turns into a beautiful even pink throughout.
The marinade is a close cousin of a recipe I made for the chicken I served at my wedding, which came from a ginger-lemon chicken dish my mom used to make. I wanted to create something similar for beef, updated with fresh herbs and fish sauce.
Be sure to dry the steak really well before searing, as the sugars in the marinade can create a lot of smoke if it is still wet when it hits the heat. Fan the steak into slices on each plate for a beautiful presentation.
- Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
- Total Time: 35 Minutes
- 1 lemon, sliced
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 3½ pounds flat iron steak, cut into 6 evenly sized steaks
- 3 teaspoons salt
- Squeeze the juice out of the lemon slices into a mixing bowl. Add the spent lemon slices to the bowl along with the ¼ cup of oil, the garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, ½ teaspoon of the pepper, the chile flakes, thyme, and ginger. Stir well to combine.
- Put the steaks in a resealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over them, and seal closed. Massage the bag to distribute the marinade evenly, then place the plastic bag in a container and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Remove the steaks from the bag at least 2 hours before cooking and pick off the ginger and thyme. Discard the marinade. Blot off all of the marinade from the steaks with paper towels, making sure the steaks are very dry. Season each steak on both sides with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon of the remaining pepper. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Heat a black steel pan over high heat until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until the surface is rippling but not smoking. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, add 2 steaks to the pan. Press a heavy plate or bowl onto the steaks to ensure an even dark brown sear across the entire surface of the steaks (avoid creating black spots). Cook on each side for 1 minute, transfer to a baking sheet, and then rinse and dry the pan. Repeat with the remaining oil and steaks in two batches.
- Once all of the steaks have been seared, place the baking sheet in the oven and cook, flipping the steaks after 3½ minutes, for 7 to 10 minutes total, until each steak reaches an internal temperature of 116°F to 120°F in the thickest part. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the steaks to a plate to rest for 5 to 7 minutes. Cut on a sharp bias across the grain into ¼- to ½-inch-thick slices.
- To serve with tender Long-Cooked Green Beans and Savory Tomato Confiture as shown (see photo), make the tomato confiture up to 1 week in advance and bring it to room temperature before serving. On the day of serving, start cooking the green beans after the marinated steaks have rested at room temperature for about 1 hour. When the beans have about 20 minutes of cook time left, start cooking the steaks (they work fantastically on the grill, too).
- Arrange four or five slices of steak on each plate in a fan pattern, top with 2 tablespoons of confiture, stack a small serving of green beans alongside, and place a small tuft of herb salad on the side.