Recently back from a trip to Londonville, or whatever they call it. BBQ is getting HUGE out there. It's like the nation's collective taste for grilled fare has been locked up in a 'char'stity belt. And with that pent up energy let loose, BBQ is meat marketing it up, out on the town, looking for the fight of its life.
There wasn't time for a tour-de-force grill crawl. However, I was lucky enough to spend a delightful afternoon at Eyre Brothers in Shoreditch. While not strictly a BBQ spot, the menu reassuringly and discerningly proclaims, "we grill over lumpwood charcoal from sustainable resources." Some of their dishes include: Catalan blood sausage, rare-grilled pigeon breast, Porto marinated duck foie gras and Iberico pork cheeks. Presented with all these elegant options, I couldn't help but ponder the going association that BBQ maintains in the popular consciousness with volume of food, gluttony. I've been thinking more and more about how to put the Big Green Egg to use for more nimble offerings, and this London afternoon experience served to strengthen my resolve.
The spark plug fired on this direction when I came upon a recipe for Rolled Flank Steak with Pesto in a great 2012 book, Canal House Cooks. This is very much their recipe, Big Green Egg styles.
Here's what you need:
- 2 Loosely packed cups basil leaves
- 2 Loosely packed cups of parsley leaves
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 3 anchovy filets
- 1/4 cup of your best olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano
- One 2-pound flank steak
- S and P
First, the pesto: drop the basil, parsley, garlic, pitted olives, anchovies, and olive oil into a blender, and puree. Next, sprinkle in the parm and pulse a couple times to make sure it's spread throughout. At this point, your pesto is gonna smell like a dream. Get it into a small bowl, wrap and refrigerate.
For the steak, and this gets a little intricate: unroll, and lay it out flat on a clean surface, with it's grain point directly towards you. With an outstandingly sharp knife, butterfly it along one edge, essentially splitting it's thickness in half. Do this patiently, stopping two inches before you cut the steak in two. At this point, you'll be able to open it like a meat book.
Get your pesto out and spread it evenly across the entire top surface area of the flank. Leave half-an-inch of space around the circumference.
Then, rotate the flank so that the grain is traveling from left to right, like a set of marble horizons. Slip 5 to 6 sets of string underneath the slab, at even intervals. Once done, begin rolling from the edge closest to you, ensuring it's as tight as possible. Once you're all rolled up, fasten the strings tightly and knot. Wrap it with plastic and refrigerate until your fire is set.
Get the BGE up to about 275/300 F. Some folks might recommend higher, but I didn't want to sear as much heat carefully to the core, ensuring the pesto had a chance to make it's presence known within the fibers of the flank. Throw it on for about 20 minutes, turning until browned on all sides. After that, shift it to the side for about 12 - 14 minutes, away from the direct heat.
Lastly, slice the rolled flank at inch-long intervals, ensuring your spirals don't unravel.
My accomplice in this mission had just had dinner. But after one of these guys, all he could say was, "just one more meat puck, just one more."
Note: I've eaten three of these while writing this, a day after it all went down. It's quality as a left-over speaks volumes.