Argentines worship meat. Argentines adore pizza. And so, they figured out a way to unite these two great loves. For most of us, this would mean piling on the pepperoni, dotting the top with some meatballs or adding bulk Italian sausage to our favorite pizza. But clearly, our imaginations are limited.
You see, with this dish, Argentines don’t put meat on the pizza. The meat is the pizza. Behold the ultimate pizza for carnivores: matambre a la pizza.
Matambre, a cut of beef that Americans know as flank steak, is the meat that covers the ribs just under the hide. Americans tend to cook flank steak to medium-rare or medium to ensure tenderness, as this cut is quite lean; however, most Argentines would balk at that level of doneness. In Argentina, matambre is often tenderized with milk and typically slow-roasted or grilled to medium-well or well done.
The classic toppings for matambre a la pizza include fresh tomato, roasted red peppers and—just in case there wasn’t enough protein for you—sliced deli ham. Other popular pizza toppings in Argentina include green olives, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and hearts of palm, but the last two don’t normally show up on matambre a la pizza.
So, forget about ordering from your local pizza joint this weekend, and whip up this “pizza” guaranteed to satisfy those meat cravings.
1 flank steak or matambre, 2 to 3 lb.
1 qt. milk
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Approx. 1 cup store-bought or homemade pizza sauce
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
Dried oregano, to taste
Strips of roasted red pepper
Slices of deli ham, optional
Trim away the silver skin and most of the excess fat from the meat. Place the flank steak in a large glass dish with the milk. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and marinate the steak overnight (at least 12 hours) in the refrigerator.
Remove the meat from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Line a roasting pan with heavy-duty foil, and then place a lightly crumpled piece of foil in the center to raise the meat up off the bottom of the pan. Remove the flank steak from the milk (do not discard the milk), and season it with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the flank steak in the roasting pan, fat side up, and add the garlic and 1 ¼ cups of the milk used to marinate the flank steak. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven.
After 45 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 350ºF. Transfer the flank steak to a plate for a moment, and place a wire rack in the roasting pan. Return the meat to the pan and roast it in the oven, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, and flip the flank steak over. Add a layer of pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, oregano and other toppings, as desired.
Return the flank steak to the oven for 10 more minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Slice and serve immediately with french fries, ensalada rusa (Russian salad), or mashed potatoes and a green salad.