July Fourth party appetizer

I am not terribly creative, which is why I don't think I would make it big being a professional chef. So I was very proud of myself for coming up with this dish. I had to make something to bring to a July Fourth party that has meat in it. I didn't want to make any casseroles, because I don't want to eat any at the time. So I decided to make some appetizer type of thing. Basically appetizers and desserts are really crowd pleasing dishes because everything will have a nice presentation and everyone will think you spend the whole week making it. So I start looking through my Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres book, which of course features gorgeous-looking food, most of which requires either too much time or too many exotic ingredients. (As much as I love Martha, I only had one afternoon to make this) Neverthelss, I did get inspiration from it. I have really come to love broiled flank steak, and I have lots of asparagus in the refrigerator. To make it richer, I added goat cheese. And I've always liked balsamic vinegar on both. One of the recipes in Cook's Illustrated reminded me that a reduced balsamic vinegar sauce is even more pronounced in flavor. Finally, what should I use for the piece of bread that holds everything? Originally I wanted to buy these tiny squares of crunchy toasts, for cuteness, but I thought they were too small. And the crunchiness might be too much. If I want to take two bites to finish a piece a crunchy bottom will crumble. So I went with soft baguette slices. Voila! It was really good! The vinegar cuts the richness of the cheese and meat, and the asparagus has the refreshing grassy bite to it. They were well received by my friends!

Recipe: Flank steak, asparagus, and goat cheese appetizer

1 flank steak marinated with rosemary and garlic (see recipe from June 14th, 2005)
1-2 sticks of baguette bread (use a fresh soft one)
6-8 oz of goat cheese
1 big bunch of asparagus
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar

1. Scrape off some garlic/rosemary mixture from beef and place in a small pan. Broil the steak for 4 minute on each side. Let it rest and cool.
2. Cut off fibrous ends of asparagus and cut them into 1.5" pieces. Blanch them in boiling salted water until just cooked. Immediately plunge them into ice cold water. Drain.
3. Cut bread into ~0.5" thick slices.
4. Mix vinegar with the garlic/rosemary mixture in the pan and reduce by half in volume. Pass through a fine sieve and let cool.
4. Thinly slice the beef.
5. Spread some goat cheese on each slice of bread. Top with 1-2 pieces of beef and 2-3 pieces of asparagus. Lightly brush each piece with the vinegar sauce.


charles said…
when you say "broil," do you just mean cooking the meat in a pan on top of stove with high heat? or are you talking about broiling using the oven below the stove top? i noticed that the dial on my stove (you know, the one with different oven temperature markings) has this one marking that says "broil," but i've never used it. is that what you use? just curious.
Albertitto said…
Yeah, I meant the oven broil. It means direct high heat cooking. If you have a gas oven, most likely the broiler is under the oven in a pull-out drawer. This is usually where the flame is. If you have an electric oven, there is usually a heating element near the ceiling of the oven and you'll need to adjust the over rack so that the food you're cooking is as close to the coil as possible. Broiling is my alternative to grilling, which creates too much smoke indoors.

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