I am not a big fan of large, expensive steaks: I prefer secondary cuts such as flank and skirt steaks, which offer much better value and often have superior flavour. These cuts, derived from the animal's lean working muscles, have a coarser grain to them. They must be cooked quickly over high heat and kept rare to ensure that they don't become tough and dry due to the minimal amount of marbling they contain. It also helps to slice them across the grain after allowing them to rest and before serving.
At home, we serve these steaks with a crisp green salad and grilled potatoes, which are finished on the grill as the meat is resting. The marinades I like to use are similar to chimichurris, although they're constantly in flux. No two sauces, it seems, are ever the same in my house.
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, softened on the grill and chopped
1 small clove garlic, peeled, finely chopped
1 small shallot, peeled, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed, chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Warm the olive oil until hot to the touch. Remove from heat and add all remaining ingredients. Stir well and let cool.
Season steaks of your choice and size, at room temperature, with salt and pepper, then cook to your preference over a hot grill. Just prior to removing them from the heat, brush the steaks liberally with the marinade, then remove to a wire rack set over a tray to catch any juices that flow out. Leave to relax. Should the steaks require a quick reheating, place them back on the grill briefly and brush once again with the marinade before slicing and serving. Serve with crispy baked or grilled potato slices and a green salad.
Keith Froggett is co-owner and executive chef of Scaramouche in Toronto.