While you can use touch to determine steak doneness (see "Keep in Touch," above), sight is also a useful tool. As steak passes from rare into medium rare, red juice beads begin to form on its surface. The juice flows more and turns pink as the steak heads toward medium. Steak cooked beyond medium releases brown juice. Chermoula is a versatile North African herb-and-spice sauce. Use a cast-iron grill pan for this dish, as a nonstick grill pan can't handle high heat.
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
3 tablespoons less-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
To prepare sauce, place the first 11 ingredients in a food processor; process until finely chopped, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
To prepare steak, sprinkle steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Heat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Cook steak 4 minutes; turn and look for red beads forming on the surface to indicate the steak is approaching medium rare. Cook 4 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with sauce.
Wine Note: As far as wine is concerned, flank steak is a pretty easygoing partner--many red wines would work well--but the chermoula is a different story. Garlic, lime, paprika, cumin, cilantro, and coriander are all dominant seasonings that make this dish sizzle. But they can also make wine fizzle. Best bet: a soft, thick, fruit-driven red that will act to "cushion" all the spice. Try Geyser Peak's 2001 Shiraz from Sonoma County, California ($18). -Karen MacNeil