Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grilled Flank Steak Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar with Fresh Garden Vegetables on Garlic and Truffle Focaccia Paired with 2007 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Vegetables on Focaccia

Notwithstanding golf obsession, summer is all about grilling and locally grown fresh produce.  If you are looking to add some variety to your summer grilling adventures, you have come to the right place.  This creation of Chef Sue’s is sure to be a winner with the anxious onlookers standing around your grill.  Chef Sue’s tasty combination of focaccia, fresh vegetables and marinated flank stake have a wonderful depth of flavor and freshness that will gain the envy of your grilling mates.

Grilled Flank Steak

While this recipe is quite easy, the depth of flavor from each of component stands out brilliantly.  First, we have to start with the marinated flank steak.  The balsamic vinegar adds some nice acidity and the first of many flavor layers (note; balsamic vinegar can be treacherous territory with respect to wine pairing – fortunately no problems here) .  Next, the fresh vegetables (grape tomatoes from Chef Sue’s garden, and onions and zucchini from the local farm stand) add wonderful summer freshness.  The combination of gorgonzola and mozzarella cheese add, eh, cheesy goodness.  Finally, the addition of truffle oil ties all the flavors together with a wonderful earthy bass note.  All these wonderful flavors are supported by a beautifully puffy and equally tasty garlic truffle focaccia.

Focaccia with Grilled Vegetables

With respect to the wine pairing, this dish offers a number of possibilities.  Certainly a Chardonnay would blend well with the truffle, garlic, and vegetable combination.  We decided to focus the pairing on the flank steak and went with the 2007 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  We were delighted.  The inviting deep ruby color and rich aromatics of cassis, roasted espresso bean and dark ripe plum follow through with flavors of blackberry, and hints of minerality that linger.  While not an ideal flavor construction for the “fresh vegetable” aspect of the food, it danced beautifully with the flank steak and produced an overall effect that accentuated the flavors of both the food and wine.  We will likely give this paring a another go with a Chardonnay or a light bodied Pinot Noir– just because we can.  And other than the flank steak marinade and the focaccia starter, this meal takes very little forethought.

2007 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Balsamic Marinated Grilled Flank Steak


  • 2 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed


  1. Marinate flank steak with all ingredients for at least 4 hours.
  2. Grill steak to medium rare - about 6 minutes per side. This may very depending on the temperature of your grill.

Focaccia Starter


  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 3 tablespoons flour


  1. Combine ingredients and let set for at least 4 hours. If you have more time, that is better. You can let the starter set for up to two days.



  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Focaccia starter
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 - 1 cup of water (depending on humidity - higher humidity = less water)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons truffle oil
  • 1 sliced zucchini
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 12 grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • 3/4 cup gorgonzola cheese
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese


  1. Combine flour, yeast, herbs, salt, starter and 1/2 cup of water. Mix and continue to add up to an additional 1/2 cup of water or until the dough becomes sticky - whichever comes first.
  2. Let rest for one hour.
  3. Dust preparation surface with flour and kneed dough for 5 minutes.
  4. Cover with towel and let rest for one to three hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (with pizza stone in the oven)
  6. Stretch dough and place on a pizza stone and brush with truffle oil
  7. Add zucchini, grape tomatoes, onion, and cheeses.
  8. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Cut the focaccia to desired serving sizes then top with thinly sliced flank steak, fresh off the grill, being sure to cut across the grain.
  10. Just for fun, drizzle a bit more truffle oil over the top of your creation, the aromas will draw everyone to the table.

With the 2 1/2 pound flank steak Chef Sue grilled, we were left with ample leftovers.  I have a great recommendation for this tasty hunk-o-meat.  See my post on “Open Faced Steak Sandwich Topped with Sautéed Celery Root and Leeks Paired with 2006 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County Merlot.”

In vino veritas, buen provecho.