Roasted figs make an unusual sweet and spicy accompaniment on this open-faced flank steak and arugula sandwich with Parmesan cheese.
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 pound fresh figs (any type), halved lengthwise
- 2 ounce walnuts, toasted (⅓ cup)
- 1 pinch black pepper, pluse more as needed
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- .75 cup olive oil
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 (1 ½- to 1 ¾‑pound) beef flank steak
- 1 bunch arugula, washed and dried
- parmesan cheese, thinly sliced or grated to taste
Make the jam: Combine sugar, cayenne, and teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly colored, about 12 minutes. Add ⅓ of the figs, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon sugar mixture, and cook, stirring often, until sugar caramelizes, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then pulse onion-fig mixture and walnuts in a food processor, adding a drizzle of water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. (Jam can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Marinate the steak: Whisk together a pinch of black pepper, vinegar, oil, and red pepper flakes in a large shallow dish. Add the steak and turn to coat. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours, turning every 2 hours.
Grill the steak: Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat until quite hot. Remove the steak from the marinade, letting most of it drip off. Season with salt and pepper. Grill, uncovered until lightly charred and crusty, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn steak over, moving to a cooler part of the grill, or reduce the heat to medium if using a grill pan. Cook until medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes more. Do not go much past medium-rare as flank steak gets tough when overcooked. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into ½‑inch thick slices against the grain of the meat.
Roast the figs: Preheat oven to 400. Place remaining figs, cut sides up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Roast until tender and caramelized on cut sides, about 10 minutes. Spread 3 tablespoons onion-fig mixture on each slice of bread. Top each with arugula, cheese, steak slices and several warm fig halves, and cut into 3 or 4 pieces. Serve immediately.