Jake Cohen, author of the new cookbook Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch, shares his Shabbat-worthy take on grilled flank steak.
A new face on the national food scene, Jake Cohen got his start cooking at fabled New York restaurants like Daniel and ABC Kitchen.
“I love working on vacation. Well, not working, per se, but still chained to the kitchen. Every year in August, we try to get away from the disgustingly sweaty city as often as we can, and spend as much time as possible with my husband Alex’s family in northern Connecticut, where his brother and sister-in-law rent a house.
“And while you’d think I’d want to just relax by the pool and eat hot dogs with abandon (don’t worry, plenty of that is done), I find myself spending most of my days cooking and baking. I kid you not, I even pack up half my pantry to bring with me to ensure I have all my favorite essentials in this foreign kitchen.
“One fateful summer Friday, my heart was set on a grill-out Shabbat. The challah dough was proofing poolside while I ventured to the local farm stand for a bounty of flowering squash, plump eggplant, almost-fluorescent vibrant peppers and a giant flank steak. Naturally, I raided my traveling pantry to get these beauties all dressed for the Sabbath grill. Equal parts smoky North African harissa, olive oil and brown sugar are met with a heavy dash of salt and the zest and juice of an orange for a simple marinade that gives a little sugar and spice to anything it touches. Think of this recipe as a blueprint for the marinade, so let me answer some hypothetical FAQs. Yes, you can swap in your favorite cut of steak and mix and match the vegetables! Yes, it will work with chicken! No, you should not use less than 1 tablespoon salt! Yes, you should double the marinade if you’re cooking 4 pounds of steak! Yes, you can even use this marinade if you’re skipping the grill entirely to roast the vegetables in the oven and cook the steak on the stove instead!”
Serves 4 to 6
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 4 hours marinating time
Cook time: 25 minutes
¼ cup harissa
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 (2-lb.) flank steak
3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
2 red bell peppers, quartered
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges Flaky sea salt, for garnish
In a large bowl, whisk together the harissa, olive oil, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice and kosher salt until smooth.
Add the steak, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and onion, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight to marinate.
When the steak and vegetables have marinated, heat a grill to medium-high.
Remove the steak and vegetables from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Grill the vegetables, concentrating them to two-thirds of the grill’s surface and turning them as needed, until lightly charred and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. As the vegetables are finished, transfer them to a platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Meanwhile, grill the steak on the empty portion of the grill, flipping it once, until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the center reads 125 F (for medium-rare), 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes, then slice it across the grain (perpendicular to the fibers you’ll see running through the steak) and place it over the grilled vegetables. Garnish with flaky sea salt, then serve.
Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, wakeandjake.com
Photography by: PHOTO BY MATT TAYLOR-GROSS; EXCERPTED FROM JEW-ISH: A COOKBOOK: REINVENTED RECIPES FROM A MODERN MENSCH © 2021 BY JAKE COHEN. PHOTOGRAPHY © 2021 BY MATT TAYLOR-GROSS. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION OF HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.