We're grilling up stuffed flank steaks all week. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to butterfly and stuff a flank steak, and find all of our daily flavor variations here. We'll be adding a new recipe every day as the week goes on!
Pesto, the classic Genovese sauce made by pounding garlic, basil, and pine nuts with cheese and olive oil, is traditionally served with pasta, boiled potatoes, or soup. But nobody has ever accused me of being slave to tradition. To a Ligurian, stuffing a steak with pesto, then layering it with prosciutto and sliced dry mozzarella may be the equivalent of serving a meatloaf sandwich topped with grilled cheese and Big Mac sauce*, but if it tastes good, it tastes good.
*Does that sound awesome to anyone else?
And I promise you, this does.
Grilled meat and pesto are two of the quintessential flavors of summer. I start this recipe by blanching basil leaves in boiling water for just 15 seconds. This deactivates the enzyme that causes greens to turn brown and muddy, which helps the pesto retain a bright, vibrant hue. I then carefully wring it dry and process it with cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in the food processor until it forms a smooth paste. This gets slathered onto a butterflied flank steak, which I then layer with a handful of whole pine nuts, and slices of mozzarella and prosciutto, before rolling it up and slicing it into pinwheels.
To keep the pinwheels together, it's important to use both butcher's twine (to keep it from unraveling) and wooden skewers (to keep the sliced rolls from buckling as they cook). I serve the grilled pinwheels with dollop of fresh pesto served on top, along with a drizzle of good olive oil.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.