I have two very important things to say before I get to the how-to on this recipe for spicy steak with corn salsa. The first is: RED ALERT: CORN SEASON IS ALMOST OVER! Which means I am digging out every recipe I own that calls for fresh corn and making it one more time before they turn the corn bin at our farm market completely over to pumpkins and apples. I know, I know, frozen corn….but it’s not the saaaaaame. And the second is this: Every time I make steak with a dry rub, I wonder why I don’t always make steak with a dry rub. It’s so easy, and it’s all the steak goodness with this rich, wonderful flavor grilled right into the outside of the steak. This recipe for spicy steak with corn salsa addresses both of these burning issues.
First, the corn salsa. I repeat, the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye right now, but the pumpkins are on the march, so it’s use it or lose it time. Use it!
Grab yourself a few of those last sweet ears of summer corn, husk them and paint them with a little olive oil and lay them on a hot grill for about 10 minutes or so, just until a few kernels here and there are starting to char. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels up with a paring knife and toss them up with some cherry tomatoes, some red onion, a little lime juice and some parsley. You can leave things just as they are now, or you can shake in a little hot sauce to jazz things up a bit. Totally your call.
Once your salsa is finished, it’s time to dry rub your steak. A dry rub is a conglomeration of spices and sometimes sugars that you mix together and yes, rub onto steak or other meat, poultry or fish to give it a kick of flavor. It’s the same concept as a marinade, but with a more intense flavor. You can make or buy any number of dry rubs, and once you start experimenting with them it’s hard to go back to plain old steak again…just warning you here.
This particular dry rub is mainly spicy, but does have a teeny bit of brown sugar in it – the sugar will caramelize once the steak goes on the grill to give the edges of your steak slices a perfect, perfect taste and texture. Once you’ve stirred all your spices together, lay your steak out flat on a piece of foil and generously press and rub the dry rub all over it. Both sides and the edges – use all of it. I like to drizzle a teeny bit of olive oil over the steak after the dry rub is on it, and then rub it again. Your fingers are going to look all kinds of wonky once this is over, but I promise you they will wash back up to normal. Now pop that gorgeous, dry-rubbed steak on the grill for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare, and then you know the rule – it HAS to sit for 10 minutes under foil before you slice into it. I know. Agonizing.
Now slice it, lay the slices on a platter or individual plates, and ladle the corn salsa on top.
Juicy, tender, super-flavorful steak and all the veggies you could ever want, all on one very happy plate. So…corn. Dry rub. You know what to do!
- 4 ears corn, husked
- Olive oil for basting
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
- ½ red onion, chopped
- Juice from one lime
- Chopped parsley
- A few shakes of hot sauce (optional)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 pound flank steak (or thereabouts - can be a little bigger or a little smaller)
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Heat grill to high. Baste corn with olive oil and grill, turning occasionally until kernels are starting to char. Cool until you can handle it, and then cut the kernels off with a paring knife.
- Mix together with the other salsa ingredients and set aside.
- Mix all the dry rub ingredients together. Lay the steak out on a piece of foil and rub the spice mixture vigorously onto both sides and the edges. Drizzle with a little olive oil and rub again.
- Place on the hot grill for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare. Let rest under foil for 10 minutes.
- Slice, cover generously with the salsa and serve!
Adapted from Bon Appetit