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Why Not Wednesday – Flank Steak on Ciabatta with Red Peppers

Sometimes appetizers can make the best meals for dinner, particularly on a weeknight when you may have run out of ideas of what to make, just want something quick and easy or are trying to make use of some leftovers so that you can clear the fridge, make a quick meal and get something tasty. This recipe from New York Times Cooking can do all of those things depending on the ingredients you choose to use. The original recipe is for a grilled flank steak on ciabatta bread with red peppers. I did modify my version slightly, using some leftover steak that we had from one meal and instead of the chopped red peppers I substituted some jarred roasted red peppers I had in the fridge. I think it came out just as well as the original recipe sounds, but I will post the original recipe here for you to use.

Grilled Flank Steak on Ciabatta with Red Peppers

1 1 3/4 to 2-pound flank steak

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons black olive tapenade

1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, slivered

2 large red bell peppers, cored and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 large loaf of ciabatta bread, halved horizontally

Smear the flank steak with 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil and massage the smoked paprika into the steak. Season the steak with salt and pepper and set the steak aside. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons of the black olive tapenade with the chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and set it aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Add the red onion and saute the onion over medium heat until it is soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute briefly, then add the red peppers. Reduce the heat to low and saute the vegetables gently until they are very tender, about 30 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally. Stir in the red wine and the remaining black olive tapenade then remove the mixture from the heat.

Heat a gas grill to hot, or alternatively heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. When the pepper mixture is done, place the steak on the grill or the grill pan and sear the steak, about 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. The timing may differ depending on the thickness of the steak that you use, so you can make a diagonal cut at one end of the steak to check the doneness.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board and place the ciabatta halves, cut side down, on the grill to toast. Alternatively, you can place the ciabatta halves on a baking sheet under the broiler. Watch the bread closely to avoid burning and heat for about 2 minutes on the grill or 3 to 4 minutes under the broiler. Smear the toasted ciabatta with the reserved tapenade and parsley mixture. Slice the steak thin on the bias and arrange the steak slices atop the toasted ciabatta. Reheat the pepper mixture and spoon it on top of the steak. Cut each ciabatta half in six pieces, arrange on a platter and serve.

This is a pretty quick meal to put together if you take some shortcuts. As I said, I had some leftover steak from an earlier meal that I sliced thinly and quickly heated in a grill pan. I used roasted red peppers and some baby yellow peppers I had on hand along with the red onion and instead of using tapenade (which Michelle doesn’t like and I didn’t have on hand), I used some sliced black olives and sliced Kalamata olives in its place and it worked out quite nicely. We had this for dinner along with some rice and vegetables, but this could also be a great item for an appetizer or even for a buffet table if you are having a party. You can put it all together pretty easily and have a nice spread. I really liked the taste of the steak mixed with the olives, onions and peppers and put that all on top of some crunchy ciabatta and it was pretty awesome.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Appetizers, Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Leftovers

 

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Ciabatta, Ciabatta, You Bet!

I have always kind of shied away from making bread. I don’t really have any counter space to roll and knead dough out properly. Our kitchen is about the size of a closet with one small counter to do work on, so I have always been limited in what I can do. That being said, I have tried to get a little more adventurous and try some dough that can be done in the food processor or in a stand mixer. I love ciabatta bread, so that was immediately one of the first that I tracked down a recipe for. After finding a good one, I set about making it. You need to know you are doing this one a day in advance, so make sure you give yourself time to do it. It takes a lot of waiting but it’s worth it.

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast

2 tablespoons warm water

1/3 cup warm water

1 cup bread flour

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

2 tablespoons warm milk

2/3 cup warm water

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

To make the sponge: In a small bowl, stir together the 1/8 teaspoon of yeast and the 2 tablespoons of warm water and allow it to stand for 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast mixture, the 1/3 cup of warm water and 1 cup of bread flour. Stir together for 4 minutes, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow the sponge to stand at a cool room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 full day.

To make the bread: In a small bowl, stir together the 1/2 teaspoon of the dry yeast and the milk and allow it to stand for 5 minutes, or until it is creamy. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, blend together the milk mixture, the sponge, water, olive oil and flour at low-speed until the flour is just moistened; add the salt and mix the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise at room temperature until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. The dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut it in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form it into an irregular oval about 9 inches long. Dimple the loaves with floured fingers and dust the tops of the loaves with flour. Cover the loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let the loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

At least 45 minutes before baking the ciabatta, place a baking stone on the oven rack with the lowest position in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment paper to a rimless baking sheet with a long side of the loaf parallel to the far edge of the baking sheet. Line up the far edge of the baking sheet with the far edge of the baking stone in the oven and tilt the baking sheet to slide the loaf with the parchment onto the back half of the baking stone. Transfer the remaining loaf to the front half of the stone in a similar manner. Bake the ciabatta loaves for 20 minutes, or until a pale golden brown. Cool the loaves on a wire rack.

I was a little skeptical before I even tried the recipe how this would come out, but it was really good. The crust is perfectly crunchy with a great texture to the bread itself. Sean and I each had a slice while it was still warm and it was awesome. I then made a sandwich with the bread later on for dinner and it was fantastic. Michelle took a sandwich for lunch herself today. The only thing I might change is the shaping of the loaves. I did not shape them in the oval as recommended and went for a little bit of a longer loaf. I think the oval would work out much better and give you larger slices to work with. I will definitely be making this again. I know around here they get about $4.00 a loaf for ciabatta and I figure the cost of making two loaves at home is about a dollar, so it is certainly worth the time you put in. Most of the time is actually waiting for the dough to rise, so you don’t have a lot of effort to put in for great results and savings.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another new recipe that I have tried this week. We have tried several already, so I have a bunch of new ones to choose from. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Breads, Cooking

 

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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

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