Friday, June 1, 2012

Basil Lime Flank Steak with Creamy Chipotle Polenta

This dish is beautiful. It is a perfect way to get that beginning of summer grill feel. You get the kick of the chipotle in the polenta, mixed with the savory qualities with the meat, smothered in a bright marinade, topped with the perfect saltiness and chill factor of the queso fresco. There are so many ways to serve this dish, we opted for the individual plating, but it is equally as beautiful as a family style dish. Not only is it beautiful in your mouth, but also exquisite to look at.
Ingredients: Serving 4 people
Flank Steak (enough to serve 4 people) about 2-5 lbs. The steak greatly shrinks.

5 cloves of garlic
2 large bunches of basil
½ cup olive oil
2 limes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

Chipotle Polenta mix: ( you will have leftovers, it all depends on how it is served)
3 Tlbs. Olive oil
2-4 chipotle peppers (depending on heat you want)
2 cups Half & Half
½ cup water
2 cups polenta
3 Tlbs parmesan cheese

To make the marinade, tear leavse from two large bunches of basil and place in a blender with garlic, salt, pepper, and squeeze the juice from two limes. While blending pour in olive oil until mix becomes a smooth pesto like texture. Taste, and add more acidity of salt depending on your preference. Take your meat and place on a large plate and pour the marinade over it making sure that you fully soak both sides. Stick meat in the refrigerator and let sit and soak up flavor for at least 30 minutes.
For the polenta, start by boiling on cup Half & Half with ½ cup water, then add the chipotle mix. When the mix comes to a simmer, slowly add cornmeal or polenta mix while constantly whisking. You want to constantly whisk the polenta while adding ingredients, because it quickly thickens and hardens, so you want to play with the consistency. Throughout the process add the rest of the cream and the parmesan cheese. Whisk until the polenta has a smooth and creamy texture. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
You can start cooking your meat anytime throughout the polenta process, or wait to the end, because you can take the polenta off the heat, and add it back on to heat it back up. So, place your skillet or grill pan on a medium high heat. Once the pan is hot enough, place your meat in the middle, keeping the flame medium high. Let cook for about 7 minutes on side, or until you start to see it brown, and then flip. Once the other side browns, about another 7, you can turn the flame down a bit and constantly flip the steak to let the juices flow back and forth within the meat. We wanted to get a nice crust on the meat before we start cooking the inside to the temperature you want. Flip meat back and forth for about another 10 minutes. You can insert a knife into the thickest part of the steak to see if you have the proper temperature you want.
Remove the steak, and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature, and then slice to serve! Slice meat over a little polenta, sprinkle some queso freso on top and serve with slices of lime and a little green salad. Anyone will be impressed by this dish!

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