Cooking Italy: Pan-broiled thin steaks with tomato and olives

15 11 2009

thin-steaks-tomatoes-olivesThis week, Cooking Italy had us preparing thin steaks, quickly pan-broiled with a nice tomato-olive sauce.  This recipe was more daunting than difficult.  Once I got past the difficulty of purchasing just a single pair of chuck steaks – my other choice was 5 pounds of thinly cut chuck steaks…  Then all I had to do was figure a way to cut the steaks into even, thin steaks.


Problem solved…one of those “Aha!” moments!  One of my wooden spoon sets has flat sides.  I set the steak between two spoons and with and extremely sharp knife, cut one steak into two pieces this way.  It worked perfectly.  I just needed to take a little time, watch my fingers, reposition occasionally, and cut slow and carefully.  Had I taken the time to chill the steak in the freezer for about 30 minutes, it would have worked faster and cleaner, but…maybe next time.  Because, this worked out well enough for there to be a next time!

Pounding the steaks flat isn’t much of a problem if you use a large heavy plastic freezer bag, spritzed with a spray of plain water to reduce the friction so the meat can slide as it stretches out.  For this recipe, you need a flat-faced pounding implement. Even the bottom of a small heavy pan will work.  We don’t want to tear the meat fibers, we just want to spread them out so they cook really fast. This is a cut of meat that you have to cook either really fast, or nice and slow.  The meat fibers will be more tender from the whacking they’re taking, so don’t worry about this being tough and inedible.  I know…I sweated it.  Remember…I send food to Dr. Tony!


Okay…the cast is assembled.  We start with the steaks.  Make sure your pan is hot and well seasoned, otherwise, add just a bit more oil as the steak goes in so it doesn’t stick.  Then your sauce…then they come together!  It’s so easy!


Tasting Notes~
I served this on a small serving of pasta to round out the plate as this was our dinner.  It turned out to be a perfect amount of food.  The sauce and steak balanced out pretty well.  We were completely amazed at the tenderness of the chuck steak. That was amazing.  Dr. Tony  gave this one a Thumbs Up as well, but suggested it would benefit from a healthy quantity of garlic and more olives!  I reminded him I was held to a recipe, and agreed heartily with him.  Dr. Tony’s family comes from a region in Italy that has a lot of influence from Greece. I wrote it down, but it’s on my desk at work. We’ll learn more about them…I’m still hanging on for Christmas Ravioli!

Back to our dish…  I prepped a full recipe, and we ate two servings, which left 2 servings. I shared half a serving with Dr. Tony, so that left us a serving and a half…which turned into a fabulous steak sandwich with peppers and onions and mozzarella cheese Friday night.  I simply sauteed onions, garlic, sweet peppers, and mushrooms in olive oil, then tossed the steaks in for a minute to reheat while the sandwich rolls were toasting.  They were prepped with mayo and Dijon mustard.  When the steaks were hot, I pulled them out and cut them into strips, and loaded the rolls.  Meat and cheese on one side, hot veggies on the other.

This was a great meal for us.  It didn’t take too long to fix, it was good for some minor aggressions, and it made options for another meal later in the week…that’s hard to beat for me!  This is definitely on my list to do again!



4 responses

18 11 2009
Simone (junglefrog)

Oooo, this looks sooo good! I am so incredibly behind with my cooking that it is not funny anymore, but I love the look of this dish (well, I love the look of many dishes, that is part of my problem!) I hope that next week I will be having more time to do some proper ‘cooking italy’ cooking! This is definitely going to be on the list!

17 11 2009

Wow, those look great. I feel like I’m looking at one of those photos from a food magazine.

15 11 2009
Maria Paray

I may try this after all! Especially love your leftover idea 🙂 Looks wonderful and sounds like another “quickie” – my favorite, these days.

15 11 2009

When I made these the first time, I tore the steak with my pounder. Thanks for these tips. Also, I like the idea of that steak sandwich. Now I thought there was too much garlic (for my taste) but I never have enough olives.

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