Grilled Flank Steak with Charred Green Onion Pesto

July 20, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Serves 3, with extra pesto
Author Notes

I will admit I'm not much of a grill master. I confess to using a gas grill which is akin to a crime for grilling purists. For me the convenience is key. The downside is the lack of charcoal flavor, and my solution is to cheat a little. Some smoky lapsang souchong tea in a disposable tray on the grill adds a nice touch of flavor to a quickly grilled cut of meat.

To accompany the meat I wanted to make a sauce that would enhance the grill flavor. A gorgeous photo of grilled green onions on a magazine cover gave me inspiration. I combined them with smoked almonds into a warm pesto. This easily makes enough for 2 flank steaks. Feel free to halve the recipe if you want, but don't worry if you have left-overs. The pesto is also lovely tossed with some grilled or roasted potatoes. - - hardlikearmour —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

Charred green onions! Who could resist? And then there's the fact that I received special dispensation from hardlikearmour to use pepitas and some judicious drops of Liquid Smoke in place of her original smoked almonds (pesky nut allergy). What I really want to say is “Make This Now!” Whether she's a grill master or not -- and I for one don't believe she's all that incompetent -- this pesto is the stuff of legends. Make it once and you'll never stop. - boulangere —boulangere

What You'll Need
  • Grilled Flank Steak
  • 1 & ½ pound flank or bavette steak
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons lapsang souchong or other smoky tea
  • water in a spray bottle
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Charred green onion pesto
  • ½ cup smoked or tamari almonds
  • packed ½ cup flat-leaf parsley
  • medium clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • zest from 1 lemon (medium to large sized)
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches green onions, preferably fatter ones
  • canola oil
  • fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  1. Grilled Flank Steak
  2. Pat your steak dry, then season with salt on both sides and allow to rest at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes. Prep your pesto through step 1 while the steak is resting. Heat your grill on high for the last 15 minutes of the resting time.
  3. Place tea leaves in a shallow aluminum tray and spritz with water. You want them to be damp but not soaked.
  4. Place aluminum tray on the cooler end of the grill and place steak on the hotter end. Close the lid. Quickly turn the steak after 5 to 6 minutes, and close the lid. The tea should be smoking nicely by now and the steak should have nice grill marks. Remove the steak to a platter after 2 to 4 more minutes depending on the heat of your grill and how done you like it. If you test by cutting and peeking, make sure to remove it when it is more rare than you want as it will continue to cook a bit.
  5. Season with pepper, cover loosely with foil and let the steak rest while you finish the pesto (about 10 minutes.)
  6. Scrape the grill and turn the heat down to medium.
  1. Charred green onion pesto
  2. Place almonds in bowl of food processor with blade attachment. Pulse 5 to 6 times then process for 10 to 15 seconds, until no large chunks of almonds remain. Add the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cover until you are ready to proceed.
  3. Remove roots and any unattractive greens from the onions. Trim an inch or so off the ends of the greens. Lightly coat with oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill onions 60 to 90 seconds on each side, until they are softened and grill marks have formed. Remove the onions to a cutting board.
  5. Discard any overly blackened greens. Coarsely chop the remaining onions, then add to the food processor bowl. Pulse 6 to 8 times; scrape the sides of the bowl. Process for several seconds, then pour the melted butter into the feed tube. Stop, and scrape the bowl, then process for an additional 10 to 15 seconds until it looks like pesto. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Slice the steak about ¾- to 1-inch thick, across the grain. Serve with the green onion pesto. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • boulangere
  • Lizthechef
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • aargersi
  • TiggyBee
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

26 Reviews

boulangere August 4, 2011
How could I have forgotten to mention that the touch of tea-smoking is sheer genius. The subtle flavors marries perfectly with the sweet/charred tones of the pesto.
boulangere August 3, 2011
I loved it. I absolutely lovedlovedloved it! You so hit the nail on the head with the combination of the grilled steak and grilled scallions. The kiss of lemon: the stuff of genius. I was so grateful that you granted me dispensation to use pepitas instead of almonds - that pesky nut allergy - and the judicious drops of Liquid Smoke, well, imagine me blowing a kiss across my bunched fingertips. Beautifully done. Cue the applause.
hardlikearmour August 3, 2011
You made my day! So glad you enjoyed it.
boulangere August 3, 2011
No, you misunderstand. I LOVED it!
hardlikearmour August 3, 2011
LOL.. my mistake! You rock, boulangere!
boulangere July 29, 2011
I won the honor! Just the hint of grilled scallions grabbed me.
hardlikearmour July 29, 2011
I love the pesto. I hope you do too!
boulangere July 29, 2011
Armed and ready to go tomorrow evening!
Lizthechef July 21, 2011
OK, I must admit that I turned up my nose at first at this theme - but here is yet another killer recipe for flank steak. Love the pesto. I now have half a dozen I want to try!
hardlikearmour July 21, 2011
Thanks,LtC! I have to admit I'm really loving this theme, so many awesome recipes.
TheWimpyVegetarian July 20, 2011
This looks seriously wonderful! I love the grilled green onion pesto and there's that tea again. Clearly I need to broaden my tea horizons!
hardlikearmour July 20, 2011
thanks, cs! When you make it to PDX I'll take you to the Tao of Tea. I was extremely happy with the pesto - using melted butter instead of olive oil was the key.
aargersi July 20, 2011
Now who's the grill-meister? :-) Sounds really fabulous, and I LOVE the pesto. Really must hunt down some of that tea!!! Love how you use it for smoke - we do that with wood chips but have not tried tea ....
hardlikearmour July 20, 2011
thanks, aargersi, but I have a long way to go to catch up to you! I use wood chips for stuff that cooks longer. The tea smokes up really quickly, but is spent quickly so it's only good for quickly grilled things.
TiggyBee July 20, 2011
Sublime.... : )
hardlikearmour July 20, 2011
Thanks, TB!
Sagegreen July 20, 2011
This sounds wonderful. Funny, that I have never cooked with lapsang, but now am inspired to try. All these recipes this week are inspiring.
hardlikearmour July 20, 2011
Thanks, Sagegreen. I've been using & drinking smoked tea for several years now. I love it.
fiveandspice July 20, 2011
Smokey tea and steak is in the air! You've created another stunner HLA! Each piece of this sounds marvelous.
hardlikearmour July 20, 2011
Thanks, fiveandspice. The pesto took a bit of tinkering!
Midge July 20, 2011
Oh wow, love your smoky solutions. This sounds fab hla.

hardlikearmour July 20, 2011
I can't take credit. The idea came from a Cook's Illustrated magazine from a while back that did some indoor ribs and used the lapsang souchong. I'm guessing on the grill any variety of tea will work, but I've only tried the smoked tea.
gingerroot July 20, 2011
This sounds delicious. Love the smoky tea grilled flank steak paired with your pesto flavors.
hardlikearmour July 20, 2011
The steak picks up a bit of smoke from the tea, like it was grilled over charcoal. I think the pesto helps accentuate the flavor as well.
Fairmount_market July 20, 2011
Yum! I loved grilled green onions. What a great idea to make them into a pesto for grilled meat.
hardlikearmour July 20, 2011
Thanks! It turned out pretty tasty.