I'll fill you in on a secret. Kids will eat meat that isn't cooked until it screams for mercy. In fact, I've found many prefer their burgers and steak prepared on the medium-rare side. When I first started making them for Isabella, I followed the recommendations in most every parenting book and served it to her well-done. As she pushed it aside and looked at me tight-lipped, I just figured she might be exercising an early vegetarian preference.
Then I looked at the twice-killed steak and didn't blame her. Who would want this charred piece of meat? I decided to trust my motherly instinct and started serving it medium-rare, just the way I like it.
She still raises an eyebrow every time I make it, though, so those early well-done memories obviously left a lasting impression. When she asked what was for dinner recently and I told her steak, her prompt response was "you know I'm not going to like that".
Honestly, I figured she was right because I'd decided to give it an Asian flair with some soy sauce and fresh ginger, but since my policy is to make one meal and hope there's at least a few things she'll eat, it didn't matter to me.
The rest of the meal was a buttery polenta, arugula salad with strawberries and and a cheese platter—she'd surely find something there to please her palate.
Wondering how dinner turned out that night? I love a surprise twist, so the fact that there were no leftovers, was fine. Isabella went back for seconds, and even thirds. Imagine a lion who'd gone vegetarian for years and suddenly remembered she was a full-on carnivore. It was one small victory for mom, and while I did resist the temptation to do one of those "in your face dances", I did tell her I was really proud that she tried it. The fact that she loved it had me dancing on the inside. —Jennifer Perillo
4 to 6
For the Marinade
thinly sliced fresh ginger
clove garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly grnd black pepper, to taste
For the Steak & To Serve
1 1/2 pounds
thinly sliced scallions
In This Recipe
Add all the marinade ingredients to a heavy duty zip-top plastic bag. Close bag and shake very well to combine. Add steak to bag and let marinate at least four hours or overnight.
Preheat your oven broiler. Drain steak, reserving marinade, and place on a rack fitted inside a rimmed baking sheet. Cook steak under broiler 5 to 7 minutes, until nicely browned on top. Turn and cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes, for a medium rare doneness. Remove from oven cover steak loosely with foil, and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, pour marinade into a small pot and bring to a boil. Cook for two minutes at a vigorous boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for five more minutes—juices will reduce a bit.
Slice the steak on a diagonal (against the grain) and arrange on a platter. Pour the reduced juices over the steak slices and scatter sliced scallions over top to serve.
Note: If it's grilling season, then by all means this can also be cooked on a preheated gas grill or prepared charcoal grill!
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).