Try this grilled meaty twist on Italian Caprese salad
Our Pitmaster Club members post recipes in The Pitmaster Club forum, and occasionally we ask for permission to share the best recipes with the public. Here is an outstanding recipe from Attjack that uses a nifty tie-off technique he learned at SeriousEats.com. Recipe adapted for publication by Steve Nelson.
Caprese Flank Steak Pinwheels Recipe
On a hot summer day, a simple Italian Caprese salad of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and sweet basil seasoned with salt and olive oil makes a fantastic snack or first course. The combo is equally delicious with grilled flank steak. This recipe combines the two in a butterflied and rolled flank steak cut into pinwheels and grilled hot and fast. Salad, meet grill. Grill, salad.
Course. Dinner. Main dish. Beef.
Makes. 4 to 6 servings
Takes. 45 minutes prep and 20 minutes cooking
Additional tools. Butcher string. Bamboo skewers.
1 flank steak, about 3-4 pounds
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Olive oil to taste
Balsamic reduction to taste (see Note below)
8 ounces halved cherry tomatoes
3-4 ounces fresh basil leaves, stems removed
8 ounces sliced fresh mozzarella
1) Fire up. Prepare a grill for indirect cooking by placing a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets on one side of the grill’s charcoal grate in order to create direct and indirect cooking zones. Adjust the grill vents to bring the temperature to about 400°F on the indirect side. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is off and the other half is heated enough to maintain a temperature of approximately 400°F on the indirect side.
2) Prep. Trim up your flank steak to square it off, and butterfly it by cutting along the long edge with your knife parallel to the cutting board with your other hand on top of the steak. Don't cut all the way through to the other side. The idea is to open it up like a book. Once cut, fold out the meat and flatten it so that you end up with a nice big sheet of beef. Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper or with your favorite seasoning..
3) Drizzle olive oil and balsamic reduction onto the meat to taste. Add the diced tomatoes evenly across the flank steak. Add the basil in an even layer. Then arrange the fresh mozzarella on top of the basil..
4) Now roll it up from long side to long side, keeping the roll as tight as you can. Tie it off with butcher twine, spacing the strings about 1-1/2 inches apart. Push skewers through the roll with each skewer near the butcher twine. Then trim the ends of your skewers and remove any loose strings. Now cut between the skewers to create 1-1/2" thick pinwheels. Each pinwheel should then be held together by the skewers and strings..
5) Season the pinwheels generously with salt and pepper on both sides..
6) Cook. Grill the steaks over the direct heat side of the grill in order to sear and brown the meat quickly and seal in the cheese. Keep the grill hot. If your temperature is too low, the cheese will melt and ooze out. Flip the steaks and sear the other side until the meat registers 120ºF for medium rare or 130ºF for medium on an instant-read thermometer. If necessary, move the steaks to the indirect side and close the lid to finish cooking without burning.
7) Serve. Serve hot.
Note. To make balsamic reduction, simmer 1 cup balsamic vinegar in a sauce pot over medium heat until it thickens and reduces in volume by about half (to about 1/2 cup). You can add sliced garlic or herbs to flavor the reduction if you like. You can also buy balsamic reduction in some well stocked grocery stores.