Marinated grilled flank steak
Tagliata marinata alla brace
For some reason Cisternino in Puglia is famous for its barbecues. Every evening, butchers in centro storico transform into bracerie emitting the most wonderful aromas of grilled meat. This marinated and grilled flank steak reminds me of summer in Cisternino.
During day the numerous marcellerie in Cisternino (and in Martina Franca and Locorotondo), look like any other butcher shop in southern Italy, but when darkness falls the smell of barbecue spreads to every nook and cranny of the narrow streets. The customers find their meat of choice on display in the counter, whereupon the butcher will roast it over open fire. Some of these fornelli pronti have vertical grills like a kebab spit which should make the meat more crispy on the outside and moist and tender within. The most popular offerings are zampina or other flavoured sausages. The gnummaredde made from lamb or veal giblets. Or stuffed meat rolls known as bombetti. When the meat has been grilled you sit down at one of the tables scattered along the alley, and enjoy it with a glass of wine.
This marinated flank steak seeks to recapture the some of the atmosphere from long dark summer evenings in the streets of Cisternino.
800-1000 g flank steak (I’ve used the cut the French call onglet)
5 sprigs of thyme
3 garlic cloves
Grated zest of 1 organic lemon
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Make a marinate of olive oil, thyme, coarsely chopped garlic and grated lemon zest.
Place the meat and the marinate in a plastic food bag and leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours. (Remember to turn the bag around a couple of times while the meat is marinating).
Take the meat of of the fridge to acclimatize 30 minutes before the barbecue or cast iron grill pan is ready.
Heat up the barbecue (or cast iron grill pan) and grill the meat for 5 minutes on both sides. Depending on the size and thickness of the flank steak this should make a medium rare steak.
Let the meat rest for 5 minutes and sprinkle it with salt and pepper before serving.
Marinated grilled flank steak is great when served with green lettuce and a tomato salad with a chilled glass of one of the Puglian whites produced in Val d’Itria.