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by Sur La Table with Janet Fletcher
A classic steak-house favorite, creamed spinach blossoms with a dash of anise-scented spirit, such as Pernod or pastis. Simmered in cream-enriched bechamel, it is rich and indulgent but worth every calorie.
• 1 flank steak, about 1½ pounds
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup dry red wine
• 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
• 2 pounds spinach, thick stems removed
• 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1½ tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup whole milk
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• Whole nutmeg, for grating
• Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 teaspoons Pernod or pastis
1. Place the flank steak flat in a nonreactive container. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, wine, garlic, mustard, and rosemary. Pour this marinade over the meat and turn the meat to distribute the seasonings evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours, turning the meat once halfway through.
2. Remove the meat from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you plan to grill it. Prepare a moderate charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium (375°F).
3. To make the creamed spinach, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach, pushing it down into the water with tongs. As soon as it wilts—less than 30 seconds—drain in a sieve or colander and immediately run under cold running water until cool. Drain again and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Chop finely.
4. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over moderately low heat. Add the flour and whisk until well blended and bubbling, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cream and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, whisking often, for about 5 minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.
5. Add the spinach and season with several scrapings of nutmeg and salt and pepper. Gently simmer the spinach for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Stir" in the Pernod and reduce the heat to low. Keep warm while you grill the steak.
6. Remove the steak from the marinade and season it on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill directly over the coals or gas flame, turning once, for about 5 minutes per side for rare to medium-rare. Because it is so lean, flank steak is best if not cooked beyond medium-rare. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
7. To slice the steak, hold a chef's knife at an angle of about 30 degrees to the 'cutting board to make broad, wide slices. Serve with the creamed spinach on the side.
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