Grilled Flank Steak In Citrus-Cumin Marinade And A Cookbook Review

I recently received a copy of Ardie A. Davis' 25 Essentials: Techniques for Grilling from Harvard Common Press (and his Techniques for Smoking too). I was really excited when I saw the books. Oddly, I haven't seen any books from Harvard Common Press in this format. I'm glad they sent these over to me because I really love the design. Coincidentally, I designed a cookbook last year in a class I took while getting my master's in publishing, and my book resembles Harvard Common Press'. It has the same roughly 7"x7" square pages and similar layout and use of color. But enough about the look... I really like the recipes too!

We're heading into grilling season -- except for those grill fanatics who get out there year-round, shoveling out the grill when necessary -- so this is the perfect time to try out some made-for-the-grill recipes.

I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to make these recipes because I don't have a yard and hence no outdoor grill. But I picked out a recipe I thought I could adapt for use indoors. I have a Cuisinart Griddler and a Calphalon round grill pan (well, that's actually my boyfriend's... shh) that I use whenever I want some nice grill marks. I can't say they impart the same flavor as charcoal would, but they do make nice substitutes.

Davis' recipe for grilled flank steak in citrus-cumin marinade is tasty -- and so simple! Actually, granted I haven't tried them all yet, but a lot of the recipes seem focused on simplicity. It's the perfect book for someone like me who hasn't done much grilling but is eager to learn how to do it right and gain an understanding of the basic methods. (Of course I can only be so proficient with my improvised "grill.")

The marinade consists of lemon juice, orange juice concentrate, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Davis gives advice on using flank steak and how it's a great cut for marinating. Every recipe has some sort of guidance on using a particular technique (in this case, grilling with a marinade), and some even offer advice on what to serve with the grilled dishes.

As much as I wanted to cook the steak right away, I followed Davis' directions and put it in the fridge to marinate overnight. Then instead of heating my non-existent coals, I put the grill pan on the stove over medium-high heat. I placed the steak in the pan and, following the recipe, turned the steak every 3 minutes until it was cooked to medium-rare. (I would have done rare, but the boyfriend prefers his steak a little more done.)

Again, following Davis' guidance, I set the steak aside to rest for 10 minutes, and then I thinly sliced it and served it with some parmesan-roasted broccoli and fingerling potatoes. Letting the steak rest makes it much easier to cut.

The strongest flavor I tasted was the orange juice concentrate; everything else sort of faded into the background and contributed subtly to the flavor. I don't recall ever having a citrus-marinated steak before (at least not that I was aware of), and I really liked it. It sort of made the steak taste refreshing -- if steak can be considered refreshing. My boyfriend, who is super picky, enjoyed it even more than I did.

Flank steak is pretty inexpensive, and the 2 pounds called for in this recipe were enough for dinner that night and provided some leftovers for the next night, which we ate cold. I tend to eat leftover steak cold because I don't like my meat cooked past medium-rare. It was good this way and stayed really tender because of the marinade.

I really can't wait to try the recipes for baby back ribs (grilling ribs) or the planked goat cheese with sun-dried-tomato and basil pesto (plank grilling) -- although I'll probably have to make that one sans grill and plank, but I think it will still be pretty tasty!

For the non-meat eaters, there are plenty of fish and veggie recipes -- and even fruit!

What's your favorite thing to throw on the grill?