Sous Vide Asian Flank Steak with Beefsteak Tomatoes
How to amp up the beefiness of a piece of meat? Cook it with ingredients that also possess a lot of umami or savoriness just like beef does.
In this case, that means fish sauce and tomatoes,which are at the height of their summer season right now.
A simple Asian-style marinade of fish sauce, mirin (Japanese rice wine), sesame oil and maple syrup gets reduced to intensify its flavor. It’s used to cook the flank steak, as well as to finish it.
When it comes to maple syrup, this is a case where a“B’’ is better than an “A.’’ Always go for the “Grade B,’’ variety, which is darker with a more intense flavor.
Because flank steak is a thinner cut, it can easily overcook. Using a precision cooker, though, allows you enjoy it medium-rare each and every time.
There are recipes out there that cook flank steak in a circulator anywhere from a couple hours to an entire day. Because I like my flank steak to still taste like flank steak, I opt to cook it only for 90 minutes, leaving it tender yet still with a pleasant toothsome quality.
Just remember to slice it against the grain (across the long muscle fibers), so that it’s easy to eat. Then, dig into a meaty dish with a beefy flavor that’s definitely kicked up a notch.
Carolyn Jung is a James Beard Award-winning Bay Area food journalist, whose work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Coastal Living, Via magazine, Food Arts, Edible Silicon Valley, Wine Spectator and other publications. She is the former staff food writer for the San Jose Mercury News. Her debut cookbook "San Francisco Chef's Table'' published in December 2013. She is also the creator of the acclaimed blog, FoodGal.com.
Prep Time: 00:20
Recipe Time: 01:30
- Medium rare - 1” or less - Tender and juicy - Extra meaty, succulent and tender
- 131F / 55C
- 6 tablespoons (88 mL) Asian fish sauce
- 6 tablespoons (88 mL) Grade B maple syrup
- 5 tablespoons (74 mL) mirin
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) sesame oil
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound flank steak
- 1 large beefsteak tomato, cut horizontally into thick slices
- 1 lime
- Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnishing
- Fill a large pot with water and attach the Anova, setting it to 55 degrees Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit).
- In a small saucepan, mix together fish sauce, maple syrup, mirin, sesame oil and black pepper. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat, and allow to reduce for about 5 minutes until slightly syrupy. Allow marinade to cool to room temperature. Reserve half of it.
- In a plastic bag, vacuum seal the remaining half of the marinade with the flank steak.
- When the water has reached the optimal temperature, add the bag of flank steak and allow to cook for 1 ½ hours.
- Meantime, vacuum seal the tomatoes in one layer in a plastic bag. Thirty minutes before the flank steak is done, add the bag of tomatoes to the pot of water.
Finishing Step -- Stovetop
- Remove the tomato slices from the bag after half an hour. Brush the tomato slices on both sides with some of the reserved marinade. Coat a grill pan with cooking spray and place on the stovetop on medium-high heat. Grill the tomato slices about 2 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
- Remove flank steak from the bag, and brush with reserved marinade. Grill in the pan for 1-2 minutes per side on medium-high heat. Watch it carefully as the sugars in marinade will tend to make the meat brown quickly.
- Remove the meat to a serving platter. Garnish with the tomato slices, a squirt of fresh lime juice and cilantro leaves. Serve by slicing the flank steak against the grain. This dish will serve 2 to 3.