Dinner in 25 Minutes

Flank Steak and Arugula With Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette

4 to 6 servings

Flank steak is usually marinated, then broiled or grilled. This quick version dispenses with a marinade and cooks the meat in a skillet. Making it that way creates pan juices, which are deglazed with balsamic vinaigrette, pulling the dish together. Serve on a bed of peppery arugula and top with curls of Parmesan cheese.

Leftovers are great the next day on a crusty roll with a touch of mayonnaise (keep the vinaigrette separate until lunchtime to keep the roll from becoming soggy).

Recipe adapted from "The Carefree Cook," by Rick Rodgers (Broadway Books, 2003).

1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

11/2 pounds flank steak

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

12 ounces arugula leaves, tough stems discarded, washed and torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)

A large chunk of Parmesan cheese (4 to 6 ounces), for garnish

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, tilting the pan to coat the bottom with oil. Season the steak with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Place meat in the skillet and cook until the underside is well browned, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the meat from burning, about 6 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side is browned, about 6 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a carving board to rest while making the vinaigrette. Set the skillet aside.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk the vinegar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup oil. Return the skillet to high heat, pour in the vinaigrette, and scrape up any browned bits in the skillet with a wooden spatula (don't let the vinaigrette reduce). Remove from the heat.

Divide the arugula among individual plates. Holding the knife at a 45-degree angle, slice the steak across the grain into thin slices. Place overlapping slices of the steak over the arugula. Whisk any meat juices into the vinaigrette, and spoon the vinaigrette over the steak and arugula.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave a generous amount of Parmesan cheese onto the meat and greens. Serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 6): 370 calories, 25 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 28 g fat, 44 mg cholesterol, 6 g saturated fat, 278 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Marcia Kramer; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

-- Marcia Kramer

SHOPPING CART | New and Easy

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* True flatware: Orikaso's line of cups, dishes and bowls, designed for travelers, are nonstick, easy to clean. The 20-ounce-capacity Fold Flat Dish ($6) has corners with snaps that create natural drainer/funnel spouts; the 18.8-ounce- capacity Fold Flat Bowl ($3) has tabs that hold it together. Available at REI, 3509 Carlin Springs Rd., Baileys Crossroads, 703-379-9400, or go to www.orikaso.com.

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* The Blue Chill freezer jar by Oster keeps concoctions made with ice at their just-blended best for hours longer than a regular glass jar. The kit ($14.99) fits Oster and Osterizer blenders and includes the five-cup freezer jar that houses a chilling liquid within its walls, plus blade assembly and lid; available at Target stores or through www.oster.com.

* Salts that finish a dish: Elegant, unusual Saltstones, also known as Himalayan crystal salt, can be grated at the table like a fine Parmesan cheese. In the fall, New York's Kai Restaurant (822 Madison Ave., 212-988-7277) will sell a saltstone-Japanese grater gift set ($150); online, you can order saltstones (2.2 pounds, $29.50) at www.lydiasorganics.com. Vanilla Salt, made of organic French sea salt and bourbon vanilla beans, is meant to enhance sweet and savory foods such as berries, chocolate, poultry and pork. It comes in three jar sizes: 1.5 ounces ($8.50), 3.75 ounces ($16.95) and 6.5 ounces ($29.95) and is available locally at Periwinkle, 3815 Livingston St. NW, 202-364-3076 or at www.dididavisfood.com.

* Nonstick, reuseable Toastabags can make "grilled" cheese sandwiches, warm up leftover pizza and pastries in your wide-mouth toaster. Set of four bags, $12.95; order online at shop.bakerscatalogue.com.


WEDNESDAY: Bonny Doon wine dinner at Chef Geoff's Downtown. $69 excludes tax and tip. 7 p.m. On 13th Street NW, between E and F streets. Call 202-464-4461.

THURSDAY: Wine dinner, discussion and book signing with "Salmon: A Cookbook" author Diane Morgan at the National Press Club. $84 for nonmembers. 6:30 p.m. 529 14th St. NW.

Call 202-662-7638.

SATURDAY: L'Academie de Cuisine open house of culinary and pastry arts programs, including informational session followed by buffet.

Free. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 16006 Industrial Dr., Gaithersburg. Call 301-670-8670 or see www.lacademie.com.

MONDAY: Women Winemakers -- wine dinner at Ristorante Tosca. $150 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 1112 F St. NW. Call 202-367-1990.

TUESDAY: Meet Jamie Stachowski at Restaurant Kolumbia -- wine dinner, discussion and cooking demonstration sponsored by Smithsonian Associates. $131 for nonmembers. 6:30 p.m. 1801 K St. NW. Call 202-357-3030 or www.residentassociates.org.

-- Terri Sapienza

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