I was scrolling my twitter feed one day and I saw one of the local butchers in Edmonton showing off some skirt steak. It inspired me for that night’s dinner. But when I drove to my favorite butcher and asked them for some skirt steak, they were out. I persevered and picked up some flank steak instead. Bob Ross used to say there are no mistakes, only happy accidents. I like flank steak and its neighbours to the plate, where the skirt steak comes from.
Flank steak has some great versatility! I looked up beefitswhatsfordinner.com and discovered that it can be grilled, stir fried, broiled, smoked and sous vide. It’s also a great source of Protein, but also Zinc, Niacin, Vitamins B6 and B12, Selenium, Phosphorus, and Choline. This list made me curious though. We see these things that we’re told are good for us, and I know from friends that vegetarians and vegans must work so much harder to ensure they are getting complete proteins, but why is meat considered good for us?
I looked up the chemicals to understand why our bodies need them. The Mayo clinic’s website states that niacin, aka nicotinic acid, is a form of vitamin B3, which is used by our nervous system, digestive system, and our skin. The Mayo clinic also cites research that shows niacin as useful in raising your good cholesterol (HDL). A lack of niacin, which North Americans do not need to worry about, has also been linked to birth defects in mice. I also found a list of foods that contain niacin, and it turns out most of us likely eat some or all of them regularly. Yeast, milk, meat, tortillas, and cereal grains all contain niacin.
Protein is another nutrient that we need, and I would hazard a guess and say most North Americans know that we need protein. We should be consuming 0.8g of protein for every kilogram of body weight, or 7g for every 20 pounds. Protein is made of a multitude of amino acids, and it is what powers our bodies. Amino acids are so important that we require nine of them to survive, these are known as the essential amino acids. I’m not going to go deep into these because I would just be going down the rabbit hole if I do. But Harvard university has a great article on protein, and you can search for it in your preferred search engine.
Zinc is seen as an “essential mineral” according to the National Institute of Health. Our bodies cannot store zinc, yet we need it for growth and development. It aids in healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. It is also the catalyst for a multitude of enzymes, around 100. Three ounces of flank steak contains around 4.3mg of zinc or 40% of your daily needs.
Vitamin B6 is used in metabolism and cognition. It is a combination of six compounds, and they are readily available in a variety of foods such as fish, beef, potatoes, and non-citrus fruits. B12 is required for red blood cell formation and is used by our nervous system. It is contained in meats like fish, chicken, eggs, and dairy. Both vitamins are available as a supplement should a medical professional suggest you take it.
Selenium is also widely available in many foods. It’s uses include reproduction, thyroid metabolism, DNA synthesis, and oxidative damage. Our body stores it, and uses it as needed. It is richest in Brazil nuts, seafood, and organ meats, but we also get it from bread, meat, poultry, grains, and eggs.
Phosphorus is used in our bones and our teeth. It is interrelated to calcium as well, since they both help our skeletal system. Phosphorus is found in many of the food we consume, and that are also in the article. We get our highest amounts from dairy products though, and when we consume it from animal products it is absorbed more efficiently.
Lastly, choline is used to synthesize two phospholipids that are used in cell membranes. It is also needed to produce an important neurotransmitter that helps memory, moods, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions. We get choline from animal products like milk, cheese, fish, chicken, meats, and whole grains.
So now you have a little information about what some of these chemicals do. Incidentally, I was able to find most of this information on the National Institutes of Health’s website. Each page contained more information about each nutrient does, and it goes into more detail.
For today’s recipe, grilled my flank steak after seasoning it with some Big Daddy’s seasoning. I grilled it until it was around 135F, but you could go up to 150F if you prefer it more well done. This meat is great for high heat and fast cooking, it is steak after all. I let it rest for five minutes and prepared a green salad with some sautéed onions and peppers. You could cut them smaller and leave them raw as well. I was going for a tex-mex flavour with this meal. I then sliced the steak into about ¼” slices and served it as is. Next, I added some Pico de Gallo and guacamole with smashed up nacho chips once it was plated. The chips add a bit of crunch to the salad, and the Pico added a slight heat.
1 flank steak – seasoned with Big Daddy’s seasoning, or some fajita spices
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion
1 recipe of Pico de Gallo
1 recipe of Guacamole
1 head of romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
½ of a head of iceberg lettuce, also rinsed and chopped
- Bring your flank steak out an hour before you cook it and let it warm up to room temperature. Then season it with your preference of seasoning.
- Turn your grill on high and let it warm up.
- Grab a salad bowl and chop up the romaine and iceberg lettuces into bitesize pieces.
- Sliced your onion and bell peppers.
- Grab a frying pan, cast iron if you have one, and either use your stove top or if your grill comes with a side burner then go cook outside! It’s probably a beautiful day out!
- Add a tablespoon of your favorite cooking oil, I used canola, and put it in the pan while it warms up. You will need high heat for this.
- Sauté the vegetables, which is to say cook them until they start to become slightly limp. Like that of fajita veg.
- Let then veggies rest and get your flank steak on the grill. Remember, don’t move it until it wants to be moved. It will let go of the grills when its ready.
- Cook your steak until it reaches 135 – 140F, then pull it off. Unless you are going to well done, in which case cook it to 150F.
- Let the meat rest under tinfoil for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, grab your Pico de Gallo and guacamole.
- Put the sauted veg on top of the salad, but do not mix them.
- Once the meat has rested slice it about 1/8” to ¼”, or kinda thin, but not super thick.
- Place the sliced meat on top of the salad and serve.
- Add Pico and guacamole, and smash up some taco chips on top, then enjoy!