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The Hand Off: Grilled Flank Steak with 5-Spice Rub & Garlic Scape Potato Salad

2011 July 7

By Carole Murko


Flank Steak on the Grill

BBQ’s should not break the bank. Although hot dogs and hamburgers are the simple and fail-safe go-to, my family also liked to serve up a London broil or flank steak on the grill as a yummy and affordable alternative. My grandmother and my mom would pierce the chosen cut of meat all over with a fork and then marinate it in olive oil, garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and any available herb – basil, thyme, sage, etc. There was no recipe – just a feel for how much  to add. They’d place it in rectangular Pyrex dish to marinate and then remember to turn it every few hours.  They were highly organized cooks and would know what they were serving for dinner the day before so they would start the marinade overnight or first thing in the morning.

Fast forward to me and my crazy busy life.  The lazy days of summer do not describe my life – I work hard but I also want to take advantage of sports, gardening and all those daylight hours.  So, sometimes I forget to marinate the flank steak and believe you me, it needs a little something!!  My solution is a spice rub.  I can mix the spices together, throw the flank steak in a plastic baggie, shake it up and let stand on counter while we heat up the grill.  A last minute solution with delicious results.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

Growing up in the land of no recipes, my Nana and Mom were and still are the great concocters.  They knew instinctively how much of this and how much of that was needed and potato salad was no exception. Here’s how my Mom described how to make potato salad: “Boil an half a bag of yellow potatoes. Place 2 eggs in with the potatoes to hard boil.  Let the potatoes cool enough so you can handle them, peel and cut into cubes or bite-sized pieces. Make sure they cool (but still warm because when they’re warm the dressing absorbs into the potatoes better). Hot potatoes are less firm and you can end up with mashed potato salad.  Then I make a dressing – some olive oil, some mayo, even some sour cream.  Depends what I have on hand. A little vinegar, salt and pepper.  Oh, and of course, when the potatoes are boiling, finely chop onion and some celery. Mash up one egg and add to potatoes and then add dressing.  To create a smooth surface on top spread a little extra mayo over the dressed salad, then grate the other egg and sprinkle on top with some paprika.  Nana used to slice up red and green peppers to make a really nice presentation.  Serve still slightly warm or cool.”

So, I thought, I need to both document her recipe with real measurements and add my own twist. With garlic scapes in full force, I decided that they would make a great addition to the dressing.

Grilled Flank Steak with 5-Spice Rub and  Garlic Scape Potato Salad

For the Flank Steak and Rub:

Prep Time: 10 minutes (plus 8 hours in the fridge for maximum flavor if possible)

Cook Time: 5 – 10 minutes (depending on how you like your meat cooked)

Total Time: 15 – 20 minutes

Yield: 4 generous servings


  • 1 1.5 lb flank steak
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Cooking Directions:

  1. Mix together seasonings, then rub into flank steak.
  2. Place flank in a gallon freezer bag with any extra rub. If you are organized you can place in fridge for at least 8 hours for maximum flavor.
  3. Grill on stove top or outdoor grill – your choice!
  4. Slice the steak thinly against the grain. Serve with potatoes (salad or roasted) and any other farm fresh veggies.

For the Garlic Scape Potato Salad – My Twist on a Family Concoction:

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes (plus at least 4 hours of refrigeration)

Yield: 6-8 generous servings


  • 2-3 lbs yellow potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 10 garlic scapes, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup mayo
  • 3 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • paprika

Cooking Directions:

  1. Boil the potatoes until soft and skin cracks.
  2. Boil the eggs with the potatoes until hard boiled. Cool the potatoes.
  3. In a food processor, place the scapes and process until very fine.
  4. Add the olive oil, mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  5. Peel the cooled potatoes and cube them; mash up one egg and  gently mix all together.
  6. Grate the other egg and set aside.
  7. Take the extra 1/4 cup of mayo and smooth over top of potato salad, sprinkle the grate egg and then finish with a sprinkle of paprika.
  8. Serve warm or cool, your choice and enjoy as a summer comfort side dish!

Grilled Flank Steak & Potato Salad

Carole hosts Heirloom Meals Radio where she shares treasured family recipes, stories and tips…savoring yesterday’s traditions today.   She also blogs daily and is shooting an Heirloom Thanksgiving Special for PBS to air November 2011.