Winter is over -- it's time to break out the grill



April 14, 2002|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Special to the Sun

After our long, cold winter with its short, often gray days, everyone in New England welcomes the arrival of spring. I look forward to the new produce that arrives in our markets, and to being able to set up our grill in the backyard once again.

One spring menu that I am planning to serve soon will begin with bowls of light cream of watercress soup, followed by grilled sesame flank steaks garnished with grilled green onions. Steamed peas and gingered carrots will accompany the meat, and an almond cake with sliced strawberries and whipped cream will end the dinner.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Sesame Flank Steaks With Grilled Green Onions

Makes 6 servings

2 flank steaks (each about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of all excess fat

6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup toasted sesame oil

cooking oil, for greasing grill

2 bunches green onions

sea salt or kosher salt (see Note)

3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (see Note)

Place steaks in shallow nonreactive dish that will hold them comfortably in a single layer.

In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce and 6 tablespoons of the sesame oil. Pour marinade over the meat. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight, turning several times.

When ready to cook, lightly oil grill rack and arrange 5 inches from heat source.

Cut off root ends and all but 4 inches from green stems of green onions. Place onions in shallow dish and brush all over with remaining 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil. Set aside.

When grill is hot, remove steaks from marinade. Lightly pat dry with paper towels. Place steaks on grill and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. When done, place on platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Grill green onions, turning them until slightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes.

To serve, slice meat diagonally across the grain into 1 / 4 -inch-thick slices. Arrange meat and grilled onions on serving platter and season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Note: Sea salts contain trace minerals and add a distinctive seasoning note to foods. Because they are quite strong, use them sparingly. My favorite is fleur de sel. If sea salts are unavailable, season with kosher salt.

To toast sesame seeds, place them in medium skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring, until seeds are golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and cool. Sesame seeds can be toasted 2 hours ahead and left at room temperature.

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