Sunday, August 05, 2012

Flank Steak Stuffed with Spinach, Provolone, and Raisin-Pine Nut Pesto

From Cook's Illustrated The Best Made-ahead Recipes
(serves 6 to 8)

1 flank steak (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup raisins
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1 medium shallot, chopped coarse
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
Salt and ground black pepper
8 ounces thinly sliced deli provolone cheese
3 ounces baby spinach (about 2 cups)

Lay the steak on a large plate and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, puree the raisins, 2 tablespoons of the oil, Parmesan, shallot, garlic, pine nuts, parsley, basil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl as needed; set the pesto aside.

Slice the chilled steak in half horizontally to within 1/2 inch of the edge and open it like a book. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Layer the cheese over the steak, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges, then cover with spinach. Spoon the pureed mixture evenly over the spinach. Rotate the steak 90 degrees. Starting with a short edge, roll the steak up tightly. Use kitchen twine to tie the steak at 1-inch intervals. Loop a piece of twine around both ends of the steak to prevent the filling from falling out. Brush the steak with 1 more tablespoon of the oil.

To store: Wrap the steak tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

To serve: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Brush the steak with 1 more tablespoon of the oil and transfer to a wire rack set over a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak registers 120 degrees, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the steak and brushing it with the remaining tablespoon oil halfway through the cooking. Transfer the steak to a carving board, tent with foil, and let rest, about 10 minutes. Remove the twine and slice the steak crosswise.

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