When I think of comfort foods, my mind usually drifts towards creamy, warm foods: mac ‘n’ cheese, tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, pot roast. But one of the most comforting meals I’ve ever had was on a rainy night when I was in college, and involved, of all things, steak.
I had been through a rough week; final exams, a hectic work schedule, and had just broken up with my boyfriend. My parents, sensing that I was on the brink, invited me over for dinner and to spend the night in my old bed. I had never been so happy to go home.
I drove from my neighborhood to theirs in the pouring rain, my crappy windshield wipers in need of replacement and clouding the car into a blurry cocoon. I pulled into the driveway to the smell of the barbecue, a peculiar smell for a cold, wet December evening. Over red wine, my father’s Caesar salad and tender bites of my mother’s juicy medium-rare flank steak, I relayed the events of the week and cried my eyes out. That night, I curled up in the bed of my childhood and slept more soundly than I had in months.
My mother’s flank steak will always be a comfort food for me, and it has become a regular meal in our house. I’ll buy a pack of steaks when a good sale arises, marinate them and store in the freezer for whenever we feel like grilling. Her marinade is perfect: salty, the slightest bit sweet, chock-full of garlic and herbs, tangy with citrus. You must try it for yourself.
The ingredients are simple: soy sauce, vegetable oil (canola or olive oil work fine too), freshly ground pepper, garlic, lemon, garlic salt, and lots of fresh parsley.
Not only does the marinade tenderize the meat, but my mom doubles up and uses a meat tenderizer before placing the steak in the marinade. This insures that without a doubt, the steak will fall apart on your plate. We like the unseasoned variety, available for just a few dollars on the spice aisle.
Begin by chopping the parsley and mincing the garlic.
In a bowl stir together the soy sauce, parsley, minced garlic, garlic salt, oil, and pepper.
Squeeze in the lemon juice.
See that bracelet? Lucy got us matching ones for mother’s day. If I’m caught without it I face the wrath of a two year old.
After the meat has been tenderized, place it in a large Ziploc freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Squish it around to make sure the meat is evenly coated.
Marinate for at least 24 hours, and when you’re ready grill for 6-7 minutes per side over medium heat.
I like to throw some asparagus on the grill while I’m at it, lightly brushed with olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.
Let the steak rest under aluminum foil for 5 minutes before slicing. Eat. Savor. Repeat.
What’s your most memorable comforting meal?
Mom’s Flank Steak click here for the handy dandy printable
While you’re at it, marinate a few steaks and place in the freezer. Defrost whenever you feel like firing up the grill! Serves 3-4.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Marinade Time: at least 24 hours Cook Time: 14 minutes
- 1 flank steak (1-1 1/2 lbs)
- meat tenderizer
- 1/3 c fresh chopped parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 c vegetable oil
- 1/4 c soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
- several turns freshly ground pepper
1. Wet steak and sprinkle with meat tenderizer. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
2. Stir together parsley, garlic, oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper. Place steak and marinade in a large freezer bag. Refrigerate at least 24 hours* or up to 3 days, turning halfway through marination.
3. Preheat grill to medium. Grill steak for 6-7 minutes per side for medium-rare, longer for medium or medium-well. Let rest 5 minutes under aluminum foil before thinly slicing and serving.
*If freezing steak, let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 day first before placing in freezer.