Flank Steak, Potato Pizza, and Baby Octupus Anyone?


I was looking at NPR’s Kitchen Window food column and found this recipe for spice-rubbed flank steak with cajun swamp sauce and it sounds really good! Since it’s Saturday, I think a barbeque is in order for tonight! I was planning on making some chili today using tri-tip instead of ground beef (I went a little crazy buying tri-tip one day because they had a good deal on it at the commissary). But I can make the chili today and eat it tomorrow. It will probably be even better if it sits overnight.

Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak with Cajun Swamp Sauce

Hanger steak also is excellent prepared this way.

2 medium garlic cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed of excess fat

With a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and ginger into a paste. (You can use a flat meat pounder or mince very well with a large chef’s knife). Add the remaining seasonings. Salt to taste.

Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Rub the paste all over. Cover in plastic wrap and marinate steak for about 5 hours or, better, overnight.

Oil the grill grates. When the grill is hot, cook the steak for 5 to 8 minutes on each side for medium-rare (depending on thickness). Test with a meat thermometer — 145 rare, 160 medium. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.

With a very sharp knife slice the steak thinly with the grain and serve.

Cajun Swamp Sauce

Adapted from Steven Raichlen’s book Barbecue Bible: Sauces, Rubs and Marinades (Workman 2000).

Makes 2 cups

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Creole mustard (or other moderately hot mustard)

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 to 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce (optional)

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 rib celery, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 scallions, chopped (discard tough green parts of stalks)

Coarse sea salt or kosher salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir. Taste for seasonings. Store in a sealed container — this will keep for several weeks.

On to the pizza and octupus…

Last night we went to dinner in Catania at a restaurant called I Vicere’ It was my first time at this restaurant and the food was really good! They are known for having excellent seafood AND excellent pizza (in my experience it’s usually one or the other, not both). I’m not a big seafood eater but I had a good pizza. It had tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, sliced potatoes that had been cooked with olive oil and rosemary, crumbled sausage and parmesan. I might be leaving something out but it was such a good combination! I love potatoes and rosemary on the pizzas here! Our friends ordered tons of seafood and I even tasted the octupus salad which was a first for me. It’s basically just chopped up baby octupus with olive oil, lemon, parsely. I think it was raw, but I’m not sure. It was hard for me to pop one of those little tentacles in my mouth but I did it and even chewed and swallowed 🙂


  1. 1
    elskermeg Says:

    Well I was really looking forward to trying out that flank steak recipe but they were out of flank steak at the store so I’ll have to try it this week sometime. Ended up making the chili though and I’m still eating it today!

  2. Very amazing site! I wish I could do something as nice as you did…mary

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