shows bowls of the three foods
Asian Slaw, Flanken and Red Potato Salad (Photo/Ed Anderson)

Fire up the grill for Lag B’Omer steak and potatoes

Whether you are in Berkeley or Israel, Lag B’Omer — the 33rd day of the Omer — falls on May 14 this year. It is traditionally celebrated with a bonfire. And that’s a great time to plan a barbecue with our Korean-style flanken.

Flanken is strips of beef cut lengthwise across the short rib bones. Korean-style flanken is sliced thinner than traditional Jewish flanken. Ours is simply marinated and grilled. (The Korean cut can be found in most supermarkets, but you may have to look for Korean-style “short ribs,” not flanken.)

Korean style-flanken is quite tender and cooks quickly. These juicy ribs have a nutty, smoky edge and an almost fruity quality that teams up well with the tangy Asian slaw and spicy potatoes. The ribs also are ideal for parties, because you can prepare everything well in advance and then be free to socialize. The actual grilling is done in minutes. It’s best to prepare the meat in the morning or early afternoon to let it marinate.

Pour any fruity red wine such as zinfandel, syrah, grenache or pinot noir. Chilled rosé would also make an excellent accompaniment.

Korean-Style Flanken with Asian Slaw and Red Potato Salad

Serves 6


2 Tbs. brown sugar
¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
3 Tbs. spicy sesame oil
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbs. freshly grated ginger
4 green onions, white part only, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds
12 Korean-style beef ribs, about 2½ lbs.

Asian slaw

2 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs. spicy sesame oil
Juice of one lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs. freshly grated ginger
1 head green cabbage, cut in half, cored, then sliced into thin ribbons
2 carrots, peeled and grated
6 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced into thin rounds
½ cup minced fresh cilantro

Red potato salad

2 lbs. new red potatoes, cut in half
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. chipotle pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup diced red pepper
Freshly ground pepper
6 green onions, white part only, cut into thin rounds

To prepare the meat: Sprinkle the brown sugar on both sides of the beef strips and set aside. In a glass or nonreactive bowl, make the marinade by whisking together the soy sauce, vinegar, both sesame oils, garlic, ginger and green onions. Place the meat in a large Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the meat and gently squeeze the bag to expel any excess air. Seal the bag and turn it over several times to cover all the meat with the marinade. Place the bag on a plate (in case it leaks) and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, flipping the bag every 2 hours or so.

To make the slaw: While the meat is still marinating, make the slaw. In a small glass bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, both sesame oils, lime juice, garlic and ginger. Set aside. Place the sliced cabbage, grated carrot and green onions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently. Add the minced cilantro and toss again. The slaw can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for several hours. For best results, remove it from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to eating and return to room temperature.

To make the potato salad: Fill a large pot with 3 to 4 inches of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, reduce the heat to a gentle boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender enough to be poked easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and rinse with cold water. Let the potatoes dry thoroughly in the colander.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare their dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic. Add the thyme, salt and chipotle pepper flakes (if using) and whisk again.

Add the potatoes and red peppers to the bowl and toss gently to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the green onions on top as garnish. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve. (As with the slaw, above, the potato salad is best at room temperature.)

Preheat the grill. Remove the meat from the plastic bag and place directly onto the grill rack. Cook about 2 minutes per side for medium rare. Serve hot off the grill with a side of Asian slaw and potatoes.

Jodie Morgan

Jodie Morgan is a co-owner of Covenant Winery in Berkeley and has co-authored eight cookbooks with her husband, Jeff Morgan. Their latest is “The Covenant Kitchen: Food and Wine for the New Jewish Table.”