Ask a bunch of friends what defines a really great restaurant meal and you're likely to hear all sorts of answers. For some it's the service, for some the ambiance of the space, for others the caché of securing a table at the latest outpost of a top chef. For many though, the answer will be that it's all about the sauces. There is just something about a well made sauce that seems to elevate a restaurant meal well beyond what most folks ever hope to accomplish at home.
Fact is, many of the best sauces you'll enjoy in a top restaurant ARE daunting to make, taking days to craft from the initial roasting of bones and veggies for stock, to the long slow reduction of same, fortifying with aromatics, and finally finishing with cream or butter. A true made-from-scratch classic sauce is a labor of love, only attempted by the most devout and ambitious home cook.
The good news is there are plenty of ways for a home cook to short-cut their way to success with sauces, bypassing entirely the lengthy process of creating one of the three French "Mother Sauces" (brown, white, or fish velouté) and working from there. Simple pan sauces and compound butters slathered over grilled meats are a nice way to finish a dish, as are quick side sauces like this soy-mustard wonder I found recently in Cooking Light Magazine.
This Cooking Light recipe is so tasty and quick I bet you'll return to it again and again over the upcoming grilling season to roaring applause from family and friends alike. Made with a fast cooking flank steak and a sauce made in less than 5 minutes, you can reach for this meal on even the busiest weeknight. Feeding a crowd on the weekend? Buy a few more steaks, double or triple the sauce recipe, bake a bunch of potatoes, make a fresh garden salad and you're good to go. A few cold beers might fit the menu nicely as well.
Cheers – Steve
- 1 pound flank steak, trimmed
- 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat a grill pan (or an outdoor grill) over high heat. Sprinkle steak evenly with salt and pepper. If using the grill pan, lightly coat the steak with cooking spray. Add steak to pan (or place on grill) grill for 4-5 minutes on each side, then let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
- For the sauce, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan, swirl to coat. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add soy sauce, mustard, and sugar; cook 1 minute or until bubbly. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the cream and 1 tablespoon cilantro.
- Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve sauce with the steak.