johnThe current issue of Fine Cooking magazine (No. 141) highlights a cut of beef that I’ve used for years that is little known but delicious and inexpensive. Just the thing to surprise Dad with. Similar to skirt or flank steak its typically labeled “Flap Meat” or “Flap Steak”. Not very appealing sounding but every bit as good as the much more expensive skirt and flank steaks. It’s fantastic grilled but just be sure not to overcook it or it’ll be tough. If you’ve some experience with skirt or flank steaks on the grill then you are good to go.

Flap steak is a lean, coarse grained cut that comes from the belly of the steer. Depending on the part of the country that you live in it can go by different names and might be cut in different ways from a whole steak to kabobs. Often labeled “sirloin tip” the French are very specific for this cut and call it “bavette”. Hopefully you have an old time butcher nearby who’ll know exactly what it is.

Flap meat’s coarse grain makes it ideal for a marinade. Just be careful not to soak flap meat for too long or the marinade can overwhelm the meat, particularly if the marinade contains soy sauce, fish sauce, or some other salty ingredient. A couple of hours max seems best. For me, generously seasoned with just salt and pepper is the best and allows all the beefiness to shine through.

Like flank and skirt steaks, flap meat should always be thinly sliced across the grain to make those coarse meat fibers short and easier to chew. If you want to add a little flavor make the following Mediterranean Salsa Verde to top the sliced meat. Perfect with your favorite Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir.

Happy Father’s Day!!

Makes about 1 cup

This is a quick little sauce of Spanish origin that is delicious on all kinds of grilled, pan seared or roasted meats, fish and vegetables. Note that I’ve used blanched or roasted garlic rather than the fresh raw type. I think this is especially important if you are going to make the sauce ahead. Over time, raw garlic can become harsh and hot. Blanched or roasted garlic maintains it’s more subtle and sweet flavor and doesn’t overpower the sauce as it sits.

2 cups coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or mint
4 (or more) anchovy fillets in oil
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons blanched or roasted garlic (see note below)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2/3 cup or so fruity extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add the parsley, anchovies, capers, garlic, basil and zest to a food processor or blender. With machine running, slowly add the oil until just blended. Sauce should still have a little texture. Season with salt and pepper. Can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.

Note: To poach garlic, separate cloves but don’t peel. Place in a small sauce pan and cover with at least ½ inch of cold water. Place on stove over high heat and bring to a boil. As soon as water boils, drain and repeat process one more time. Rinse to cool off cloves. Remove husk from poached garlic and store covered in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To roast garlic, cut off top quarter of a whole head to expose each of the cloves. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap loosely in foil and roast in a preheated 375-degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until garlic is soft when gently squeezed. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Squeeze out as needed.