Flank Steak Taco Dinner with Friends

How can you not love summer- grilling out, warm sunshiny days and eating outside with good friends and good food after a day at the beach?  We had picked up a really nice looking flank steak at the butcher and decided it would be perfect on the grill and in a taco, along with grilled tomato salsa and sweetened grilled plantains… and mojitos!  Grilling the tomatoes gives this salsa a warm smoky heat, so savory and full of fresh flavor- it’s incredible.  Plantains are starchy, like a potato, but we treated them as a dessert- melted butter and brown sugar scented with vanilla.  We didn’t cook ours long enough, so you will want to make sure these are tender because the flavors were certainly showing up to party!  A quick rub of spices on the flank steak really punches up the savory taco.  So for your next BBQ as these last long days whittle down, please give this combo a try:
Roasted Tomato Salsa
Ingredients
6 roma (plum) tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/2 small onion, quartered
1 jalapeno chile pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Directions
Start the Grill.  In a medium bowl, place roma (plum) tomatoes toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.   Transfer to the grill when it is hot and ready, checking often, grill 5 to 10 minutes, or until outsides of tomatoes are charred.  Remove vegetables from heat. Remove and discard tomato cores.  In a food processor, coarsely chop the remaining ingredients.  Transfer to a medium bowl and serve with extra lime juice and cilantro.

Flank Steak
Ingredients

2 lb flank steak
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Directions
Preheat a grill pan over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Combine the mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, cayenne and allspice in a small bowl. Rub the flank steak all over with the mix and let sit for 10 minutes.  Put the steak on the hot grill and cook 5 minutes per side. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Plantains
1/2 cup dark rum
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 very ripe plantains (should be almost black), peeled and sliced horizontally and then in half 
1 Tablespoon canola oil
Directions
Heat grill to high. Place rum, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar has melted and the mixture reduces and thickens slightly. Stir in butter until melted. Remove from the heat.
Brush plantains with oil on both sides and grill until golden brown and caramelized, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Brush with the glaze during the last few minutes of grilling. Remove from the grill and brush with more of the glaze before serving.
Mojitos
makes 8 cocktails
Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
8 ounces light rum
1 cup tonic water
16 limes, juiced
2 cups fresh mint

TO MAKE THE SIMPLE SYRUP WITH MINT: In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and water and heat over medium-high heat. Let the syrup cook for a couple of minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the syrup looks clear. This will be about the time it takes for the syrup to begin to bubble. Remove from the heat and add the mint leaves. Cover and set aside for about 10 minutes, so the mint can infuse the syrup. Strain the syrup and use immediately or store in a lidded container for up to 1 week.
TO MAKE THE PITCHER OF MOJITOS: In a large pitcher, stir together the rum, lime juice, and syrup. Add half the mint leaves and using a wooden spoon muddle the leaves. Serve at once or refrigerate until needed. Do NOT add ice to the pitcher.

TO SERVE: When ready to serve, squeeze a lime wedge over the ice in a rocks glass. Drop the lime wedge into the glass along with a few fresh mint leaves. Fill the glass two-thirds full of the mojito mixture and top off with club soda.


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