Espresso-Marinated Flat Iron Steak

There's no time like Fourth of July to try this espresso-garlic marinated flat iron steak on the grill.
There’s no time like Fourth of July to try this espresso-garlic marinated flat iron steak on the grill.

Don’t just sip that morning espresso. Use it to marinate steak for a sensational supper.

“Espresso-Marinated Flat Iron Steak” is definitely a recipe worth saving some of those coffee beans to try. It’s from the new cookbook, “Table with a View: The History of Recipes of Nick’s Cove’ (Harry N. Abrams) by Dena Grunt, the owner of Nick’s Cove, the picturesque restaurant and resort overlooking Tomales Bay.

Originally built in the 1930s, this historic resort features charming waterfront cottages, a rustic bar, and a restaurant where Chef Kua Speer showcases local seafood, cheeses, and produce, including vegetables, fruits and herbs from The Croft, the resort’s own garden.

Leafing through the book is like taking a vacation unto itself with beautiful photos of brilliant-blue Tomales Bay. You’ll definitely work up an appetite, too, spying recipes from the resort for “Dungeness Crab Cakes with Spicy Paprika Mayo,” “Rabbit Sugo Papparadelle,” “Tomales Bay Clam Chowder,” and “Lobster Poutine.”

Flat iron steak is so named because it’s thought to resemble the shape of an old-school metal iron. Cut from the chuck (or shoulder), it has quite a bit of marbling, unlike the much-leaner flank steak of which it bears a resemblance.

It’s not an easy cut to come by. In fact, after striking out at a couple of grocery stores, I ended up buying them and getting them delivered from GoodEggs ($14.99 per pound from Oakland’s Cream Co. Meats).

Just stir together the marinade of espresso, shallots, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, paprika, pepper and salt. Then, toss your flat iron steaks with it, and leave to marinate overnight.

I actually forgot to halve my flat iron steaks crosswise, as the recipe indicated. But my steaks arrived in a couple of pieces anyway, and the marinade seemed to penetrate them very well, regardless.

They cook up quickly on the grill.
They cook up quickly on the grill.

The next day, remove the steaks from the marinade, and grill. Let rest, then slice across the grain to enjoy.

The flat iron is far more tender and buttery tasting than flank steak. The marinade doesn’t make the beef taste like coffee at all. In fact, it tastes uncannily like a less-briny Worcestershire sauce, even if that bottled sauce wasn’t an ingredient in the mix.

Even if coffee was prominently in the mix, I didn’t find that dinner kept me up at night. In fact, I only had dreams about making this easy, flavorful dish again.

Not as easy to find as flank steak, but flat iron steak is far more tender and beefy tasting.
Not as easy to find as flank steak, but flat iron steak is far more tender and beefy tasting.

Espresso-Marinated Flat Iron Steak

(Serves 4 to 6)

1/2 cup freshly brewed espresso or strong coffee

2 shallots, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Two (1-pound) flat iron steaks, trimmed of excess fat and halved crosswise

To marinate the steaks, in a small bowl, whisk together the espresso, shallots, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt, paprika, and pepper. Arrange the steaks in a single layer in a baking dish, pour the marinade evenly over them, and then turn the steaks to coat evenly. Cover the dish and refrigerate, turning the steaks once or twice, for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct heat cooking over high heat (450 degrees). Brush the grill grate clean.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the steaks on the grate and grill, turning once or twice and with the lid closed as much as possible, until nicely grill marked and done to your liking, about 7 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Slice the steak against the grain, arrange on a platter, and serve at once.

From “Table with A View” by Dena Grunt

Additionally: More About Cream Co. Meats

Plus More Coffee-Influenced Recipes to Perk Up With: Coffee-Orange Angel Food Cake

And: Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

And: Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Blondies

And: Espresso-Powered Barbecued Brisket

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  • Flat iron steaks are hard to find on the east coast as well. I’ve ordered some steaks that should be coming sometime the week and there are to sirloins that should be great with the marinade. BTW excellent grilling job, they look perfectly cooked.

  • Hi Karen: My husband is the grill-meister in the family. He always tries to do an especially good job when he knows I’m taking photos. LOL

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