Coffee-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak

This dish is not overly complicated or fussy, making it the perfect dish to try at home

By LOUIS BERTINO for the Flathead Beacon

This dish is not overly complicated or fussy, making it the perfect dish to try at home. As soon as the heat hits the coffee and brown-sugar rub, the kitchen smells like heaven. The dimensional style plating instead of standard quadrant plating adds an artistic element and allows you to experience all the flavors together. The natural juices from the steak and sauce find their way into the potato, mixing with the herbs and butter. Topped with fresh steamed asparagus, this is a fresh, satisfying summer-time meal.

Smashed Red Potato

• 1 small-medium sized red potato

• Olive oil – as needed

• Butter – as needed

• Salt – to taste

• Black pepper – to taste

• Rosemary, fresh, chopped – to taste

• Thyme, fresh, chopped – to taste

• Sage, fresh, chopped  – to taste

Lightly coat the potato with olive oil. Place on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees until almost done. Remove from the oven and carefully crush the potato, leaving it still intact.

Apply a small amount of butter and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and sage. Return to the oven to complete the cooking process. This will melt the butter and allow the herbs to flavor the potato. Remove when potato is done.

Steamed Purple Asparagus

• 3 stalks purple asparagus

• Butter – as needed

• Salt – to taste

Cut the asparagus on a bias about 5-6 inches long. Peel the asparagus, leaving only a small amount of color near the top. Steam asparagus until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from steamer and apply a small amount of butter and salt.

The Steak

• One 6 – 8 oz. flat-iron steak

• Olive oil – as needed

• 1/2 C. coffee, fresh ground

• 1/4 C. black pepper

• 1/4 C. kosher salt

• 1/4 C. brown sugar

*Advance prep: Have beef stock hot on the stove and reducing for the sauce.  Have dry red wine ready for use in the sauce. Have cold cubed butter, shallots and thyme prepped and ready for use in the sauce.

In a mixing bowl, combine the coffee, pepper, salt, and brown sugar. Lightly coat the steak in olive oil. Coat the entire steak in the coffee rub. The olive oil should ensure that the rub sticks evenly to the steak.

Sear the steak on all sides in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until medium-rare. Remove the steak from the pan and let rest while you make the sauce.

Red Wine Reduction Sauce

• 1 Tbsp. shallots, fine chop

• 1/2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

• 4 oz. dry red wine

• 4 oz. beef stock, hot

• Salt – to taste

• Black pepper – to taste

• 2 oz. cold cubed butter

In the same sauté pan which you cooked the steak, deglaze the pan with red wine, add the shallots and thyme, and allow to reduce to a syrup consistency.

Add the hot stock as needed and allow to reduce until thick. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into another sauté pan.

Apply low heat and swirl in the cold cubed butter until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper as needed, but keep in mind that the steak has been rubbed in salt and pepper already.


On a large round plate, place the smashed red potato in the center. Place the steak on top of the potato. Spoon the sauce over the steak and allow it to run into the potato and onto the plate.  Place the asparagus over the steak in a staggered formation resembling a teepee, with the base of the asparagus touching the plate and the tips crossing each other.

Louis Bertino is an instructional assistant at the Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit