This past Sunday my husband and I were playing an endless round of our favorite game: "I don't know, what do YOU want for dinner?" Other variations include "I don't know, what do YOU feel like?" and "Meh. What sounds good to you?"
We played a few rounds, stretched through the afternoon. We didn't feel like going out. We didn't feel like ordering in (Well MAYBE if you had better takeout, DC Metro Area). We didn't feel like going to the store. (Lazy Sunday!) We inventoried what we had on hand. We always have some type of beef (thanks to our annual cow share), and usually potatoes as well. So how about steak frite? I started paging through our copy of the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, and found a recipe for Classic Steak Marinade. Perfect.
This marinade really does taste like a classic steak marinade. I wasn't sure what that meant when I read the description, but when I tasted it I thought "Yep. That's it." It's got a lot of great well-rounded flavor: salty, sweet, tangy, earthy, savory. The little bit of sugar helps carmelize the meat a bit as it cooks, and the reserved portion that you pour over the steaks really brings it home. This recipe couldn't be easier, and can probably be made from ingredients you have in your house. I was missing a few things and had to make substitutions and it still turned out great. We paired it with these fries (also a Cook's Illustrated recipe), and some roasted asparagus for a perfect Sunday Night meal.
Here's the recipe, with my variations.
Classic Steak Marinade
(Makes about a cup. Enough for 4-5 individual steaks or one 2 pound steak.)
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup extra light olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons packd dark brown sugar
2 very generous tablespoons minced green onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 generous teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Combine all ingredients except balsamic vinegar. Transfer 1/4 cup marinade to bowl and stir in vinegar: set aside. Place remaining marinade and steaks in 1 gallon ziplock bag, press out as much air as possible, and seal the bag. Refrigerate for an hour, turning halfway through to ensure even marination. Remove steaks from marinade, letting any excess drip back into bag. Discard bag & marinade. Grill steaks as desired. Transfer steaks to shallow pan and pour reserved marinade over top. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 10 minutes, turning meat at the 5 minute mark. Slice steaks or serve whole, pass with reserved marinade if desired.