You will find as many answers to the question of why London Broil is called that as cooks to have an opinion on it. First things first: though some butchers label certain cuts "London Broil," the name refers to a dish, not a cut of beef. The best cut for London Broil is flank steak -- the flat, fibrous steak from the rear belly of the cow -- with top round the second choice. These are the two cuts you'll typically see labeled London Broil in the supermarket.
What makes London Broil is the process. Because the cuts of beef typically used for London Broil are heavily muscled, London Broil must first be tenderized. Typically this is done by pounding with a mallet until the cut of beef is of a uniform thickness. The second step is marinating the beef, which moisturizes and further tenderizes the beef while enhancing its distinctive assertive flavor. After marinating, the beef is grilled -- no higher than medium rare, or the steak will end up being fibrous. Finally, the beef is cut against the grain, which produces thin strips of very flavorful and tender beef.
This weekend, as grills blaze up for burgers and hot dogs, why not add a London Broil to the grate? It's typically on sale this weekend. It's one of the easiest recipes to prepare, and it's always a hit. If you're not grilling, cook your London Broil under the broiler for a quick, satisfying weeknight dinner. Serve your London Broil with the horseradish cream below, a potato baked right in the coals and loaded with butter and chives, and a chest-thumping California Cabernet Sauvignon like Atticus John.
Whether you grill your steak on a grate, broil it, or pan-fry it, pay careful attention to timing and doneness. Cook the steak to medium rare, which will progress to medium during the resting period. For beef cuts, the USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145 degrees after cooking and resting; in professional kitchens, this is usually between 125 -- 130 degrees.
For the steak
1 1-1/2 - 2 pound flank steak
3 medium cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Zinfandel, Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon
Several stems fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (Greek sea salt works well)
Freshly ground black pepper
For the horseradish cream
1 8-ounce container heavy cream
4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1. 6 - 8 hours prior to cooking: whisk the wine, olive oil, and Worcestershire sauce together in a glass or ceramic dish large enough to hold the steak.
2. Peel the garlic and remove the root end. Half each clove; remove and discard any sprouting from the center. Press each half through a garlic press into the dish containing the marinade. Whisk the marinade to incorpoate the garlic. Add the thyme to the dish containing the marinade.
3. Rinse the steak and pat it dry. Use the diamond end of a metal meat mallet to pound the steak to uniform thickness; typically 1/2 inch.
4. Place the salt and sugar in the palm of one hand; rub hands together. Rub steak on both sides with salt-sugar mixture. Sprinkle each side of the steak with freshly ground black pepper; rub pepper into steak.
5. Place steak into dish containing marinade; turn steak over several times to ensure that it well coated with the marinade.
6. Cover dish with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator to marinate 6 -- 8 hours, turning the steak over in the marinade a couple of times during this period.
7. While the steak is marinating, decant the cream into a glass or ceramic mixing bowl. Use a stick blender or wire whisk to aerate just until thickened, approximately 1 minute. Continuing to whisk, add the horseradish, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once all of the horseradish has been incoporated, whisk the vinegar into the mixture. Chill until ready to serve.
8. 1/2 hour before cooking the steak: remove the dish from the refrigerator Remove and dicard plastic wrap. Holding the steak out of the way, drain and discard the marinade.
9. Set a wire rack in the marinade dish and set the steak on the rack to allow excess marinade to drip off. It is not necessary to dry the steak before cooking it.
10. Cook steak on a grate, under the broiler or in a skillet until medium-rare, approximately 4 minutes per side, until a meat thermometer inserted into the steak registers 130 degrees.
11. Remove steak from heat and place on a cutting board. Lightly tent with foil. Allow to rest five minutes.
12. After five minutes, test with meat thermometer. Steak should register 145 degrees (medium).
13. Use tongs and a sharp knife to slice steak across the grain into thin slices. Place slices on a platter, and serve with horseradish cream.