Don't you crave the savory taste, the firm texture and the satisfied feeling you get when you eat a piece of beef? Of course you do. It's time to indulge again.
What you'll be pleased to know is that the beef available today is a leaner animal than what you ate 20 years ago. The meat not only has less interior fat, but it has more fat trimmed off the edges, making for a lower-calorie, lower-fat and lower-cholesterol product than in the past.
But for sheer pleasure you'll want to choose beef for its flavor as well as its health profile. A flank steak delivers both. Nutritionally, flank steak falls between a low-fat beef round steak and a rich T-bone. To compare, broiled flank steak has 250 calories and 11 grams fat in a 4-ounce serving. The same size broiled beef round has 214 calories and 6.7 grams of fat. A T-bone weighs in at 338 calories and 24 grams of fat.
As far as taste goes, a flank steak is second to none -- succulent and robust. However, it is a plain cut of meat. Many cooks enhance the flavor by marinating. A soak in red wine and seasonings adds minimal calories and no fat.
A sauce also complements the meat. A wild mushroom and shallot sauce using leftover marinade is a glorious dressing for flank steak.
With this entree, reacquaint yourself with another favorite: mashed potatoes. This time the spuds are mixed with turnips, and what you have is a lighter, spicier dish.
Mashed Potatoes and Turnip
2 small to medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
1 medium turnip
2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish
Place potatoes and turnip in a small pan with water to cover. Bring to boil.
Cook at low boil until very tender, about 45 minutes. Drain well. Peel and dice potatoes and turnip. Return to pan. Mash with the back of a fork, mashing in milk, butter and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper.
Flank Steak With Wild Mushroom Sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
grated rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 bay leaf
1 (8-ounce to 10-ounce) piece flank steak
1 teaspoon butter
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 cup dry wild mushrooms
3/4 cup beef broth
In a medium glass bowl, stir together red wine, vinegar, grated orange rind, fennel and bay leaf.
With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes on both sides of flank steak to score. Place steak in marinade. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours, turning it over once.
Melt butter in a small pan over low heat. Add garlic and shallot and saute 5 minutes. Drain marinade from meat and add to garlic mixture. Add mushrooms and beef broth and simmer until mushrooms are tender and liquid is reduced by 1/3 , about 20 minutes.
Place steak on a broiler pan and broil 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from broiler. Pour pan juices into mushroom sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.
To serve, slice beef into thin strips. Pour mushroom sauce into gravy boat and pass separately.