Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Beet tzatziki and flank steak

So this whole dinner came about because of a beet tzatziki that I made and didn't know what I should do with once I'd made it. I made the tzatziki because I couldn't resist buying these gorgeous candy-colored beets at the Morningside farmer's market and they needed to be used up. Aviva and Ali and I had our porky tofu dinner the other night and we were just sitting around and chatting afterwards, so I decided to make this because I was roasting the beets anyway and wanted to do something with my hands while we talked besides drink wine (beet tzatziki--the solution for my incipient alcoholism?). It is an amazing color; a bright pink that seems impossible to occur in nature, but it totally does, y'all. I packed it up in the fridge in tupperware and thought about it for a day or so until I decided it would be great with flatbread, grilled flank steak and an assortment of other vaguely mediterranean dishes (see the last 2 posts if you are curious). A note about the type of yogurt used in tzatziki--it is sort of a special kind. It's a thick, greek-style yogurt which means it is creamier and thicker than regular yogurt and makes a revelatory sauce. So go get yourself a nice piece of beef, grill or broil it simply, and use this amazing hot pink sauce as a condiment. If nothing else it makes a great conversation starter.

Trim the greens down to 1 inch from 4 small beets, and lay them on aluminum foil in a pan to roast in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes-1 hour. The aluminum foil is just to keep the beets from staining your dish--if you don't care, don't use the foil. If you don't have small farmer's market type beets, just use 1 huge one instead. When they are soft, take them out and let them cool until you can handle them. Take the skins off (this is easy once beets are cooked, usually they just slip right off with the aid of a sharp knife) and grate the beets into a mixing bowl. Add 1 minced clove garlic, juice from 1 lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Let it sit for 5 minutes to mellow, then add at least 1 cup of thick greek-style yogurt and mix it up really well. It will be the most intense, shocking pink you've ever seen, like a cracked out Victoria's Secret window display. You may have to look away for fear of searing your retinas. Taste it and add more yogurt if it is too candy-sweet (beets are, like, pure sugar), you can add up to 1/2 cup more yogurt, if you like. Stir in some dill--1 tablespoon minced if it is fresh, or 1/2 tablespoon if it is dried.

Now for the steak. I rubbed a 2 pound flank steak with a mixture of 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, sea salt and fresh black pepper. Let this sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then turned on the oven broiler and stuck my grill pan in to get hot for a minute. Put the steak on the grill pan and broiled it--about 7 minutes per side. Cut into it and check after you flip it to see if it is done to your liking. You can also just throw it on the grill rather than broil it--I probably would have but I think my grill is still on Mel and Jeremy's porch. When it is cooked the way you want it, pull it out and slice into thin strips across the grain. Pour the pan juices over the slices and serve with the beet tzatziki sauce and flatbread.

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