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altGrand summer meals on board should be light, colourful, easy to prepare, sumptuous and most importantly, best served with great friends around your table!

For years, my family has savoured over summer meals of mouth-watering flank steak, the long lean muscle taken from the under belly side of a cow. There was a time not that long ago when flank steak was considered a lesser, inexpensive choice of meat and much underrated, but this misconception has changed in recent years as fancier restaurants have increasingly slipped it on to their menus and marinating recipes have become easily accessible on the Internet.

Several times, I have recounted fond memories of amazing flank steak meals to Andy and John, my Galley Guy buddies and they finally relented and accepted my invitation to a full-on flank steak extravaganza. Although the price has climbed upwards over the past few years, flank steak is a real crowd pleaser that won’t break your budget.

The first step was a trip to my favourite butcher shop where I selected a beautiful cut weighing in at just over 2 lbs. ($5.99 per pound). Step #2: Select a marinade.

Step # 3: Add versatility. Experiment with your marinade. I chose a teriyaki base but soy and chili peppers also work great, or think ‘French’ and try red wine, coriander and chopped onion. Remember that there is no right way to prepare a delicious flank steak, it depends on your personal preference.

Step 4: Add flexibility. To make this meal not only a culinary memory, but also a seaworthy research assignment, we took a tip given to us during a previous 'Galley Guy' feast from Chef Adrian Vogt of Trident Catering in Toronto. As some portable BBQs don’t generate enough heat to quickly seal the meat, Adrian suggested that we pan sear the steaks at home first and then slow cook them on the boat's BBQ to keep the meat more flavourable. He went one step further and suggested that we freeze the steak and enjoy it after several days into an extended cruise. Not quite like the Mythbusters on television, we accepted this challenge, marinated the steak, cut it in two, then seared and froze one half.

Step #5: Find a wine to pair with choice of meat and marinade. Some of my good boating buddies visit their wine cellars, but most drop by the liquor store on the way to the boat. For the Galley Guys, we just phoned our good friend Eddie Sokoloff from Churchill Cellars and ask him what he would choose. After listening to our meal plan and choice of marinade, Eddie elected to forgo giving suggestions over the phone and headed straight down to the boat not wanting to miss this Galley Guy event.

More often than not, Eddie prefers to prepare for each meal with a sparkling wine; his choice was a Segura Viudas Brut Reserve Cava from Spain, a dry sparkling wine made in the traditional champagne method. Segura Viudas is a wonderful wine to start the festivities and goes especially well with appetizers. A Peninsula Ridge Estates 2008 Merlot from Niagara in Ontario was selected for the main course. “The marinated flank streak demanded something rich and full that would not overpower the simplicity of the meat,” said Eddie.

As the news of our flank steak festivities spread to the West Coast, our good friend and foodie from Vancouver, Frank Leffelaar expressed his love of flank steak and offered up his choices for the meal’s wine. His first pick was a 2007 Fairview Madcap Merlot Cabernet Franc blend he described as “mind blowing”. Equally as good, he states, is the Osoyoos Larose 2007 Petales. The Petales medium intense nose offers blackberry, licorice, dark chocolate, sweet sawdust, vanilla and oak aromas. Firm tannins support the concentrated dark fruits and toasted oak flavours that dominate the dry palate and are great with grilled meat.

Remember colourful, light and easy to prepare. To round out the meal we choose roasted BBQ potatoes and to make them cook a little faster we ran a metal skewer through the centre of them to conduct more heat during cooking. Steamed broccoli either in a pot/steamer or wrapped in foil on the BBQ is easy, healthy and adds a rich green touch to any summer plate. I buy salad in a bag from the grocery store, because it is simple to store, comes pre-cut and has a long extend “best before date” that makes for good value.

Flankly speaking, it was a great meal enjoyed by all!

RECIPE

2 lbs. Flank Steak
Marinade
½ cup vegetable oil,
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon
1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves of crushed garlic
½ teaspoon black ground pepper

Plan on a minimum 6 hours but preferably 12 hours to marinate the steak in a glass bowl. Take a fork and poke holes up and down both sides of the steak to tenderize and allowing for greater penetration of the marinade into the meat. Also make sure to turn the steak over during the marinating period to allow for both sides be coated evenly.

Now for the show, remove the steak from the cooler at least one hour before grilling allowing it to get up to room temperature. Sear the steak at a very hot temperature, but be careful it doesn’t take long and then turn down the heat and cook for 6-8 minutes turning once. Cook to medium rare. Never overcook as flank steak can get very chewy. Place steak on a cutting board remembering that it is very juicy and there will be a great deal of run-off that could get messy. Cut the steak across the grain into strips ½ -3/4 of an inch thick. Serve.

QUICK FOOD FACTS

On our research assignment our testers, the three Galley Guys and guest Eddie, all who you may notice have enjoyed many…actually more than many great meals, could not taste any appreciable difference between the fresh strips of flank steak and the seared frozen steak. So the next time you are planning a lengthy voyage and without access to fresh meat and produce, this seared and frozen method could be the answer for a great meal on the hook.

Leftover flank steak can quickly turn into incredible steak sandwiches, or add protein for a manly salad, or become the base fixings for a summer stir fry.

Flank steak – a great steak for eating, a great steak for entertaining!

Remember to drink responsibility this summer, drop the sails, turn off the engine, tie up and let the good times roll!

By Galley Guys Greg Nicoll, Andy Adams and John Armstrong