It occurs to me that I’ve had a number of photos on my site for foods that I haven’t actually given you recipes for! This grilled steak and eggplant with roast fingerling potatoes and chili-cranberry relish is one of those simple and flavorful dishes that is so rewarding to make and fun to eat!
If you have any trouble finding hangar steak, feel free to substitute any cut of beef you like. You’ll want something that does well with a quick cooking, rather than one that needs a slow roast or braise, but this dish is great with any good cut of steak, or even tri-tip or flatiron!
If you have the time and inclination, the overnight marinade of the steaks in olive oil and herbs makes this beef incredibly tender and flavorful. Gently combining with the garlic, rosemary, and thyme with a little chili and citrus to break down tough tissues all the while drenched in olive oil takes this cut of meat to a whole different level. If you don’t have time for the marinade, don’t worry about it! Grilled steak is tasty on its own!
If it’s too chilly out to fire up the grill, go ahead and use a grill pan. Just make sure to get it nice and hot before you try to cook the steak and eggplant, otherwise it’s too easy to wind up with food that’s overcooked and not particularly attractive. You want a nice hot grill so that you can get those grill marks and keep your meat rare to medium rare and your eggplant perfectly done. If you need to use a sauté pan you certainly have that option, just make sure you get that nice and hot as well. Ideally, you want to get your pan incredibly hot, carefully add the eggplant or steak, and then turn the heat down almost immediately. The fast sear is great for both the eggplant and the beef, and reducing the heat will make sure that the food cooks rather than burns. Just be sure to let your grilled steak rest for at least 10 minutes after you cook it.
If you don’t have very young and tender eggplant, the salting step is very important. After you slice the eggplant, you will need to salt it generously on both sides and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The salt will draw out the excess moisture and bitterness, which are usually the reasons that people believe that they dislike eggplant. The flavor of good eggplant is absolutely fantastic, but it’s an easy thing to dislike if it isn’t prepared with a little care.
As far as serving size goes, if you plate your food like the picture, you will have a lot of extra fingerling potatoes and eggplant slices when you follow this recipe exactly. I know a lot of people like a little more food on their plates when eating at home, so this recipe includes more eggplant and more potatoes that you would need for 3-4 plates like the one pictured. If you wind up with more potatoes and eggplant than you need, it’s a great excuse for potato salad or a nice grilled vegetable plate! The chili cranberry relish is one that I’ve used before, and it keeps well for several days or more in the fridge (and is delicious as a spread on bread or crackers, particularly if you have a little soft cheese to go with it…). If you’re looking to make part of this dish ahead, both the relish and the potatoes can be made ahead, but the eggplant and steak are much better if done just before serving.
Grilled Steak and Eggplant with Fingerling Potatoes and Chili-Cranberry Relish
- 2 ea (8-12 oz) hangar steak
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-5 sprigs thyme
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 ea eggplant plus 2 Tbs salt
- 1 # fingerling potatoes
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbs + 1 Tbs olive oil
- 4 Tbs chili cranberry salsa
- Garnish (optional) Maldon Salt, micro greens (arugula, beet, basil, or cilantro would be great here), Espelette pepper, drizzle of good quality olive oil, and/or freshly cracked black pepper
- Clean any excess fat or silver skin from steaks.
- Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, rosemary, garlic, thyme, bay, and chili flakes in a container or ziplock bag large enough to hold the steaks. Liberally sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper and add to marinade. Massage the marinade into the steaks. Make sure the steaks are well coated with the mixture and leave in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 8 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Mix the fingerling potatoes with 1 Tbs olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Place in a single layer on a baking tray (lined with parchment paper for easy clean up).
- Roast in the oven until tender 30-45 minutes.
- Remove from oven, cool slightly, and cut in half, lengthwise.
- Slice the eggplant into 1/2" rounds.
- Salt both sides of each slice liberally. Let sit in a colander in a sink or over a plate or bowl for 15 minutes to draw out moisture and bitterness.
- Rinse well, pat dry.
- Heat a grill or grill pan until almost smoking.
- Remove the steak from the marinade and place on the hot grill. Cook until well marked on the hot grill 4-6 minutes. Flip and cook each side. Remove when cooked to desired temperature. The time will depend entirely on your steaks and the temperature and consistency of your grill. If they are not very thick, a total of 6-8 minutes will almost certainly be perfect for a medium-rare. For thick steaks, you might want to try 8-12 minutes, increasing the time if you want the steaks more well-done.
- Remove the steaks from the heat and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes.
- While the steak is resting, toss or coat the eggplant with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Carefully place on the grill pan or grill and cook until dark grill lines appear 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from grill.
- Warm the cranberry relish.
- Spoon the cranberry relish onto a plate.
- Top the relish with a slice of eggplant.
- Slice the steak on the diagonal and place on the eggplant.
- Scatter fingerling potatoes around.
- Garnish, serve, and enjoy!