Spinach Prosciutto Provolone Stuffed Flank Steak

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Spinach, Prosciutto, Provolone Stuffed Flank Steak plated.

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Flank steak topped with Berkshire Prosciutto, Provolone, basil and spinach.

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Rolled and ready for the grill.

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“I don’t get no respect.” – Flank, the Rodney Dangerfield of steak

You’re really missing out if you’re guilty of rushing to the rib eyes, strips, and Porterhouse cut steaks and skipping over the flank steak. Bite for bite, flank steak is one of the most flavorful cuts of beef there is. Yes, it has a reputation as being a tough cut of meat, but done correctly, this steak will deliver a nice juicy, beefy tasting pleasure.

How do you accomplish this? First, don’t overcook. Rare or medium-rare at most. Cook beyond medium-rare, and you will end up with shoe leather. Second, slice it correctly by cutting the flank thinly and against the grain. Flank steak is comprised of long fibers of muscle and connective tissue. Cutting against the grain breaks up those fibers. The last thing for flank steak is to consider a marinade. Although it isn’t absolutely necessary to marinate a flank steak, the steak takes to marinade very well and really absorbs all those extra flavors. I chose to marinate the flank in this recipe.

One last thing to mention: flank steak is not a skirt steak. They do come from the same general area, but they are different cuts. The flank is usually thicker and larger than a skirt. They can sometimes be substituted for one another. Because this recipe calls for butterflying the steak, I would not substitute with this recipe.

I give instructions for cooking in an oven or on the grill utilizing a cast iron skillet for both. You can forgo the cast iron skillet if cooking on a grill. Using a cast iron skillet will allow for a more even sear and also prevent any oozing filling to fall between the grates and cause a flareup. A slate plancha could also be used in place of the cast iron.

Here is what I did:

Ingredients

Marinade:
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 flank steak (approximately 2 pounds)

Stuffing:
3 ounces prosciutto
6 – 9 slices provolone cheese
1 cup whole fresh basil leaves
2 cups whole fresh spinach leaves (remove stems)
Kosher salt and pepper

Oil for cooking

Directions

Marinade:
Combine balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and garlic in a blender and purée until smooth. With the blender running, slowly pour in the oil and blend until emulsified into a thick, creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the steak on a clean work surface so the long edge runs perpendicular to you. Using a sharp knife and cutting parallel to your work surface, butterfly the steak in half lengthwise. Make sure not to cut all the way through. (Leave a ½- to ¼-inch portion along the edge.) Fold open the meat like you would a book and gently flatten the seam to form a rectangle. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the steak to a ¼-inch thickness.

Transfer the mixture to a plastic zip locking bag and add the flank steak. Squeeze out any excess air, seal, and refrigerate. Allow the steak to marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 24; the longer the time, the more the steak will take on flavors. Be sure to turn the bag periodically during the marinating time.

Cooking:
Remove the marinating flank steak from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then remove the flank steak from the marinade and remove most of the marinade. Discard all remaining marinade.

Arrange the meat on a work surface with the grain running horizontally. Doing this will assure you slice it against the grain when you cut the rolled steak. Lightly season the top with salt and pepper. Lay the prosciutto slices in an even layer in the same direction as the grain. Leave about one-inch at the top edge so no filling is exposed outside the roll. Next add the provolone, followed by the basil and then the spinach.

Start rolling the flank steak away from you making sure to keep it as compact as possible as you roll. Once rolled, tie the stuffed roll with kitchen twine about about 2 inches apart. Lastly, season the outside with salt and pepper.

If cooking in oven:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Add a few tablespoons oil to a large cast iron skillet and heat on medium-high until smoking. Add the rolled flank steak to the pan and sear on all sides for about 3 to 4 minutes per side for a total of 12 to 16 minutes. Make sure roll is seam down and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for another 15 to 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 125°F in the middle of the roll.

If grilling:
Heat the cast iron skillet on the grill while bringing the grill up to temp. With the skillet on the grill, close lid and turn all burners on high for 15 minutes. Keep half of the burners on high heat and turn remaining burners down to low. Position the skillet over the high burners and add a few tablespoons of cooking oil to skillet and distribute it evenly. Add the rolled flank steak to the pan and close the grill for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat this three more times to sear all sides of roll. Sear on all sides for about 3 to 4 minutes per side for a total of 12 to 16 minutes. Move the skillet to the cooler side of the grill. Close the lid and adjust heat to maintain a grill temperature as close to 350°F as you can. Do not roast higher than 350°F. Roast the steak on the grill for another 15 to 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 125°F in the middle of the roll.

For both methods:
Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and rest for about 15 minutes before slicing. Remove cooking twine and slice the steak into pieces no thicker than three-quarters of an inch.

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