Thin cuts of steak such as flat iron and hanger are great for weeknight meals because they’re full of flavour and cook up fast.
But a flavorful spice rub and quick marinade easily elevate the meat to a meal worthy of a special occasion.
Pairing it with a simple side of partially mashed chickpeas will satisfy that meat and potatoes guy in your life for Father’s Day.
For this recipe from our book Milk Street Tuesday Nights, which limits recipes to 45 minutes or less, we took inspiration from Moro, the London restaurant of chefs Sam and Sam Clark.
They serve their steak over hummus, but our simpler approach to chickpeas saves time and effort without sacrificing flavour.
First, we briefly marinate the meat in soy sauce, then pat it dry and coat it with a mixture of coarsely ground cumin and fennel seed, salt and black pepper.
When grinding the seeds, be sure to keep them coarse — don’t pulverize them to a powder.
This helps to create a crust when searing the meat and helps prevent the spices from burning.
We then partially mash chickpeas and cook them in a skillet with chopped scallions.
The warm salad is a perfect foil for the steak, which we sprinkle with a little more of the spice mixture after cooking it to double down on the flavour.
A dollop of plain yoghurt and warmed pita bread will round out the meal.
Spice-Crusted Steak with Mashed Chickpeas
Start to finish: 45 minutes
1 1/2 lbs flat iron steak, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsps cumin seeds, coarsely ground
2 tbsps fennel seeds, coarsely ground
Two 15 1/2 -oz cans chickpeas, drained
6 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra to serve
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsps grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
In a shallow baking dish, combine the steak and soy sauce, turning to coat. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the cumin, fennel and 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper.
Remove the steak from the baking dish and pat dry with paper towels. Use all but 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mixture to coat the steak all over. Set aside. In a large bowl, use a potato masher to roughly mash about 3/4 of the chickpeas; stir in the remaining whole chickpeas.
In a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until barely smoking. Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in half of the scallions, another 2 tablespoons of the oil and the lemon juice. Off heat, stir in the lemon zest and parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a platter, mounding it to one side.
Wipe out the skillet. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high until barely smoking. Add the steak and cook until well browned on both sides and 120?F at the centre for rare, 125?F for medium-rare, 6 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and let rest for 10 minutes.
Thinly slice the steak against the grain, then arrange the slices on the platter next to the mashed chickpeas. Pour over any accumulated juices and sprinkle with the remaining scallions and the reserved spice mixture. Drizzle with oil and serve with lemon wedges.
By Christopher Kimball