It's not that I mind big and bold. It's just that I prefer them when paired with fresh and vibrant, especially as we head into summer. So for Father's Day I decided to rethink the classic surf and turf. My goal was to retain the meaty goodness of the dish, but make the flavours really pop and keep the dish feeling fresh.
What I ended up with is a flank steak that marinates in lime juice and cracked black pepper before being grilled and topped with a shrimp, salmon and avocado ceviche.
Ceviche is a Central and South American dish in which raw seafood is "cooked" in a bath of citrus juice, often spiked with just a bit of hot peppers. The result is a luscious, delicate texture and a punchy, fresh flavour. For my ceviche, I went with shrimp and salmon. And you obviously want to get the freshest possible seafood for this dish.
To hit just the right texture, the shrimp are briefly poached in boiling water. But if you're not comfortable dishing up raw salmon on your own, you can substitute an equal amount of cold smoked salmon. The smoked salmon is still raw, but some people feel more comfortable with a product prepared by somebody else.
I kept the heat in the ceviche on the mild side, but it's easily adjusted to suit your preferences.
PEPPER-LIME FLANK STEAK WITH SHRIMP AND SALMON CEVICHE
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (30 minutes active)
For the steak:
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
For the ceviche:
1/2 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and cleaned
Juice of 5 limes (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 habanero or jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
1/2 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 pound salmon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
To marinate the steak, place it in a nonreactive baking dish. Drizzle the lime juice and olive over both sides, then season liberally with salt and pepper. Rub the seasonings in, then cover and refrigerate.
To prepare the ceviche, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and poach for 30 seconds, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to the ice water. Once the shrimp have completely cooled, use the slotted spoon to transfer them to a kitchen towel to dry.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together the lime juice, red onion, garlic, hot pepper, cucumber and corn. Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and the salmon, then gently mix. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
After the ceviche has chilled for an hour, remove the steak from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. Meanwhile, heat the grill to high.
Remove the ceviche from the refrigerator and stir in the cilantro and avocado. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Using an oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs, oil the grill grates. Season the steak with additional pepper, then grill for 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the steak into thin slices across the grain. Divide the sliced steak between serving plates, then spoon ceviche over each serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 650 calories; 350 calories from fat (54 per cent of total calories); 39 g fat (9 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 190 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 62 g protein; 700 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch