Cook's Country (February/March 2015)
Well, it may only be the beginning of March, but we've already got one dish that is sure to make our year-end list: This Flank Steak Peperonata from Cook's Country.
It is, in a word, fantastic.
We've only really made a peperonata one other time, waaaay back in 2009 in this meatball dish from the late, great Gourmet. (2009 -- were we ever so young? No one knew who Justin Bieber was. Barack Obama had only just taken office. And Gourmet magazine was still a thing.) At the time, we raved about that peperonata. But it was a simple preparation, mostly just red peppers and capers.
This Cook's Country peperonata, on the other hand, has a few extra tricks up its sleeve: red and yellow peppers for fun color, an onion, fresh basil, six cloves of garlic (which of course means we used 10), and -- perhaps most importantly -- tomatoes. The result is a fuller-flavored peperonata that's closer to a sauce than the side salad from that Gourmet recipe.
Anyway, this peperonata is perfection. It's savory and slightly spicy and a little briny from the capers. It was excellent with the flank steak, but we ate leftover peperonata on chicken breasts and fish, and it was heavenly then, too.
Honestly? We think you'd be hard-pressed to find something that wouldn't be improved with a slather of this peperonata. Ice cream, maybe? Although we're not gonna rule it out just yet...
SERVES 4 TO 6
Look for a flank steak of even thickness. The peperonata can be made up to two days in advance.
1 (2-pound) flank steak, trimmed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, quartered, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide-strips
2 yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, quartered, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 onion, quartered through root end and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons capers plus 4 teaspoons caper brine
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1. Cut steak lengthwise with grain into 3 equal pieces. Combine oregano and 2 teaspoons salt in bowl. Season steaks all over with salt mixture, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
2. Heat 1/3 cup oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add red and yellow bell peppers, onion, garlic, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes and their juice, capers and brine, and pepper flakes. Continue to cook, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer peperonata to bowl, cover, and keep warm.
4. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook steaks until well browned and each registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
5. Stir basil into peperonata. Slice steaks thin on bias against grain. Season steak slices with salt and pepper and drizzle with extra oil. Serve steak with peperonata.