Monday, June 18, 2012

Fabio's Fabulous Flank Steak

This week Virtual Potluck is partnering with Bertolli Olive Oil to help promote their Where Flavor Comes From Summer Grilling campaign.

Here's where you'll find the complete list of participating bloggers.

As part of the campaign we were given exclusive grilling recipes from Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani and we've got information to share about the Let’s Cook Summer Sweepstakes.

The Let’s Cook Summer Sweepstakes (launched June 15) is a Facebook-based sweepstakes that celebrates the tastes of summer and offers prizes to help at-home cooks discover where flavor comes from.

The Grand Prize is a trip for four to Los Angeles for a one-on-one cooking lesson with Chef Fabio Viviani, or $5,000 for a kitchen makeover. Not bad, eh?

But that's not all! (Sorry, I've seen a few too many infomercials lately.) There are other prizes like Bertolli Olive Oils and Bialetti cookware. The Let’s Cook Summer Sweepstake is hosted on Facebook at is a brand new site dedicated to summer grilling. You can download the free Let’s Cook! app, available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, with more than five hours of exclusive step-by-step cooking videos with Chef Fabio Viviani.

Let the grilling begin.

I chose a flank steak recipe, because I knew I had flank steak on hand. Or I thought I did. It was actually skirt steak. That's easy substitution. Skirt steak is a little thinner and more ragged-looking, but just like flank steak, the grain of the meat runs lengthwise. Flap meat is similar, but I don't see that very often in stores.

Since I substituted the meat, I figured I'd better make the rest of the recipe exactly as written. I was a little ... surprised by the combination of pineapple and basil in a salsa with jalapeno. It just sounded odd. I wouldn't have batted an eye if it was cilantro. But basil?

But I carried on, and I was quite surprised. It was really good. Even more surprising, the leftover salsa was great the next day - I sort of expected the basil to do something weird, but it was just fine. If anything, the salsa was a little spicier, probably because the heat of the jalapeno had a chance to permeate the rest of the ingredients.

The last time I bought jalapenos, they were pretty tame. This time, they packed a little heat. You never know with peppers; they can surprise you. We like spice, so we were both happy that these peppers had a little more personality.

As far as the steak, brushing it with oil before grilling means that you don't need to oil the grill, which can be an interesting endeavor. Let's just say that flames can happen. Brushing the steak serves the same purpose, with less drama.

Flank Steak with Pineapple Salsa
Recipe by Chef Fabio Viviani
4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Pinch salt
1 lb. flank steak
1 Tbsp. Bertolli® Classico Olive Oil
Combine pineapple, red pepper, green onions, jalapeno pepper, lime juice, basil and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Brush beef with Bertollli Classico Olive Oil. Season beef, if desired, with salt and black pepper. Grill, turning once, 10 minutes or until desired doneness. Serve with pineapple salsa.

Disclaimers and stuff:

Thanks to Bertolli for sponsoring Virtual Potluck's work with this campaign. I received products and payment for participating. As always, my opinions are my own.

About Bertolli Olive Oil: Sold in more than 40 countries worldwide, Bertolli Olive Oil has been providing consistent flavor and superior quality for nearly 150 years. As the number one olive oil brand worldwide, Bertolli Olive Oil’s three distinct varieties—Extra Virgin, Classico and Extra Light Tasting—will enhance the flavor of your favorite foods.

About the sweepstakes: No purchase is necessary to enter Bertolli's sweepstakes on Facebook. Entries will be accepted from June 15, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. EST – September 6, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. EST.  Limit one (1) entry per person, per day, per e-mail address.

Virtual Potluck is not part of the sweepstakes. Commenting here does not enter you in the contest. Go to Facebook. Enter. Win. Have fun! 

On the other hand, I love comments ;-) Let's talk grilling, shall we? What's your favorite thing to grill?