Spring means more produce is coming into season. Scallions, peas, carrots, garlic, asparagus–all the good stuff. Incorporate these seasonal ingredients into this super quick flank steak stir fry.
First, let’s talk technique. Although the idea of a stir fry is quite simple, there are certain tricks to keep in mind in order to perfect this dish. “Mise en place” is a French term for having everything in place before cooking. This is crucial because the process of stir frying typically takes less than 10 minutes, so you don’t want to be scrambling to cut up more vegetables as something is cooking. Have your cooked grains, prepared veggies, sliced meats, oils, and sauces out and ready before you even heat up the pan. When you heat the pan, you want it to be piping hot so that when you drop water on it, it immediately skitters around the pan. Since the pan is going to be very hot (likely around 375 degrees or higher) you want to pick an oil that has a high smoke point like light olive oil, canola oil, or other high heat oil. Read this guide for more information about cooking with oils.
Flank steak is great because it is super lean and typically a more affordable cut. However, since it has less fat than most cuts, it is important to avoid overcooking as it will dry out. Another important tip is to salt your meat prior to cooking it. This allows water to come to the surface of the meat and concentrate the flavor more.
Although red meat gets a bad rap, lean cuts of red meat are still an important part of a balanced diet as they provide substantial protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. The American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that to reduce cancer risk, people should “eat no more than 18 oz (cooked weight) per week of red meat.
Aim to vary your protein sources and focus on eating other lean proteins like chicken breast, seafood, beans, dairy, and nuts. If you’re not about the red meat or are vegetarian or vegan, you can swap out the steak for 8 ounces of mushrooms, chicken, tempeh, or tofu instead.
Try using this same stir fry recipe throughout the year and simply swapping out the veggies for whatever is currently seasonal. As a rule of thumb, aim to prep about 6-8 cups of veggies.
- For summer try: bell peppers, zucchini, and summer squash.
- For fall try: broccoli, different varieties of mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.
- For winter try: cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale.
This recipe was both developed with the help of Chef Keilen Shigematsu, owner of Table Focus Catering. He is always great at teaching me the importance of technique in cooking!
Turn the heat up and get ready to make this 10 minute meal! What are your favorite veggies to use when you stir fry?
- 2 tablespoons high heat oil of your choice
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped, plus more to garnish
- 1/2 pound flank steak, cut in half and thinly sliced against the grain
- 1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 small carrots, thinly sliced into coins (about 1 cup)
- 2 cups snap peas or snow peas, cut diagonal in half
- 4 ounces shiitake, crimini or oyster mushrooms, (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, (or tamari if gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, plus another tablespoon reserved for the end
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds,, to garnish
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cups cooked grains or noodles of your choice, (brown rice, quinoa, rice noodles, etc)
- Season thinly sliced steak with salt and let sit for up to 1 hour before cooking to bring moisture to surface of the meat. Dab dry with a paper towel.* Meanwhile, prepare all other ingredients, have your oils and sauces out, and have your grain or noodles cooked, as the stir fry cooks very quickly.
- When everything is prepped, heat a large skillet or wok to high heat. Ensure it is piping hot before adding oil.
- Once hot, add oil, garlic, ginger, and green onions into the pan and stir fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add steak into hot skillet and cook until it is just lightly browned on most sides, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add vegetables into the same skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Add in soy sauce and rice vinegar and cook for 3 more minutes until slightly reduced.
- Sprinkle with extra green onions, black pepper, and sesame seeds. Drizzle another tablespoon of rice vinegar** and a teaspoon of sesame oil over the top. Serve over hot cooked grain or noodles of choice, if desired.
*This technique allows the water to be drawn out of the meat and concentrate the flavor more. If you are running short on time, simply salt the meat before adding into your hot skillet.
**The acidity of the rice vinegar helps to bring out the flavor without adding extra salt. If you still are finding it needs to be seasoned more, salt to taste.