Saturday, June 26, 2010

Skirt Steak & Chimichurri Salad

Welcome to Lazaro Actually Cooks Saturday

I get annoyed every year when people wax poetic about “Grilling Season.” Mostly because I cannot have a grill, the joys of condo living. So for us unfortunate souls we must be able to cook meat beautifully in the kitchen. Skirt steak, or Churrasco, is a wonderful cut of meat. There are a two skirt steak cuts that come from the diaphragm of cattle, the outside skirt and the inside skirt.

The Inside skirt is a more uneven piece of meat, smaller, and less expensive. The Outside skirt is the more appealing of the two, more uniform in size, and thus more expensive. Skirt steak is a favorite choice cut of meat in South America, predominately in Argentina, and Uruguay where red meat consumption is quite high.

Tough cuts of meat have long muscle fibers that tenderize through extensive cooking. Skirt steak cannot be cooked for long so it must be cut against the grain to shorten those muscles. The marinade with the beer and fresh herbs imparts a lot of flavor to the meat. Alcohol does not tenderize, cooking or cutting tenderize, so always cook any alcohol before marinating. Raw alcohol “cooks” the exterior of meat preventing the meat from fully absorbing the flavors of the marinade.

Chimichurri is a green sauce condiment and marinade used in Argentina, Uruguay, Central America, the United States and by extension in the 305. Here I decided to highlight it two ways; first making the original sauce and then creating an herb salad inspired by the ingredients that make up the sauce. Garlic chips make a wonderful crunchy garnish, while Mission figs add a sweet touch.

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Salad

For the Skirt Steak:

6 savory sprigs
6 thyme sprigs
3 culantro sprigs
2 bay leaf
½ tbs black peppercorns
3 garlic cloves – (smashed and skin left on)
16 oz Killian’s Irish Red
½ cup cane sugar

Four 6-ounces trimmed outside skirt steaks
Fleur de Sel
Onion powder
Black pepper
Canola oil
2 tbs unsalted butter

Combine the marinade ingredients in a saucepot. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. In a glass bowl, place the steaks and cover with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge overnight.

Remove the meat from the marinade. Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Discard marinade. Pat dry the steaks with paper towel. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a heavy bottom pan, heat the canola oil over high heat. Season the steaks with sea salt and black pepper.  Add to the pan and brown the steak on the first side. Flip the steaks and add the butter to the pan. Baste the steak with the butter as you brown the second side. Transfer the steak to the oven and cook for 8 minutes for medium rare. Remove the steaks to a wire rack to rest for 8 minutes.

For the Chimichurri Sauce:
1 cup Olive oil
2 limes juiced
2 elephant garlic cloves
2 shallots
Flat leaf parsley

Note: All herbs are fresh. Quantities at the discretion of the cook.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until pureed. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes for flavor to meld. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.

For the Garlic Chips:
Elephant garlic cloves
Cold milk
Canola oil

Slice the garlic cloves as thin as possible on a mandoline. In small saucepan, cover the garlic slices with cold milk. Bring to the boil. Drain the garlic in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Heat the oil to 300 F. Pat dry the garlic slices with paper towel. Fry the garlic slices until golden brown. Drain the garlic chips on paper towel.

Note: These garlic chips can be stored in an airtight container for 2 days.

For the Chimichuri Herb Salad:
Flat Leaf Parsley
Red Bell Pepper – (sliced thin on the mandoline)
Mission Figs
Garlic Chips

For the Honey Mustard Vinaigrette:
Olive Oil
Sherry Vinegar
Organic Honey
Dijon Mustard
Sea salt
Black pepper

Combine in a glass bowl. Whisk vigorously to emulsify.

To Plate:

1. Center the herb salad on the plate

2. Spoon some of the mustard vinaigrette

3. Top with the mission figs, red bell pepper, and garlic chip

4. Slice the steak across the grain

5. Plate the steak

6. Season with sea salt, smoked paprika, marjoram, black pepper

7. Add the Chimichuri Sauce

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!


  1. You plated that up beautifully! Great looking dish there, I'd love to try it. I have never had skirt steak.

  2. We use skirt steak quite often and my daughter usually requests it. I like it not only for the flavor, but it is one you can cook well without firing up the grill. I'll have to try your marinade, it sounds so interesting with the Killians added...or is that to drink while it's marinating? :D (I always use onion powder on all my steaks) I'm happy to see that you use it here!

  3. I almost wish I had not returned because I saw your steak dish again - soooo hungry!

    Thanks for the advice about the outside skirt. I will be sure to ask my butcher. Great advice. thanks :-)

  4. Great skirt steak recipe, love the chimichurri sauce! I'm going to save this one and give it a try:-)

  5. I have seen skirt steak in the market but have not tried it. This recipe looks and sounds delicious with all the tastes that we like. I'm putting it on the menu.

    Although we don't live in a condo, we rarely grill. I've worked at adapting grilling recipes for stovetop and oven and have been quite pleased.

    I think Oliver might enjoying a small bite of this!!


  6. You always have such beautifully presented dishes Lazaro! I don't eat much meat, and when I do it's usually steak so this is one plate of eye candy for me. I've never tried skirt steak before though. Love the addition of the garlic chip, that can definitely add great flavor to anything. Sounds and looks delicious, great recipe!

  7. It looks great and I bet it is delicious with that great sauce! I've never made skirt steak but my older son makes a delicious spicy dish of it. Thanks for the info!

  8. Even though I'm not a major fan of beef consumption...I can certainly appreciate your chosen cooking method. We actually chose to get rid of our BBQ...and quite honestly do not miss it at all.
    Your Chimichurri Sauce seems quite delicious and very versatile towards so many different dishes.

    Have a great weekend,

  9. What a gorgeous presentation this looks amazing, always wanted to try skirt steak now I have a reason...congrats on being on of the winners on Natasha's exciting :)

  10. That looks delicious!! Could you fix that up for me right now, as I watch the soccer game? That would be great! Go USA!

  11. I love this recipe. All the ingredients and how they are put together are fabulous! I ALWAYS marinate meat. It doesn't touch my lips unless it has been marinated overnight. I'm such a diva! hehe. Ya know, maybe not. It's what I am accustomed's how my folks cooked.

    Lazaro, I live in a condo too. When I first moved here, no bbq's were allowed. Then, a few years later it was changed. As long as an electric charcoal starter was used, bbq's were permitted.

    Here's a link to what this gadget looks like and how it operates.

    Maybe you might want to ask the Board of Trustees in your Condo Association (or whoever you need to address) to consider it. Let me know if you end up getting permission to use it.

    I'm still learning how to grill. I'm a newbie to it because my dad and brothers always took care of it (back in the day).

    Good luck,

  12. That is one tender and juicy looking steak and the salad looks so pretty and perfect sitting next to it. Great idea to use the garlic chips and thanks for the information about skirt steak. It is good to know something about what your going to be cooking with or asking your butcher for :)

  13. This looks delicious. Great tip about cooking the alcohol before using in marinade. Makes sense.

  14. Wow this looks yum! It doesnt really matter whether you have a grill or not because if you can cook meat as nice looking as this, you don't need one!

  15. Ah! This looks so delicious!!!

  16. Great combo.
    Chimichurri, one of my favourite salsa and you are presenting it as a salad. Loved the idea.
    Well done, Lazaro ♥

  17. Neat idea for a salad. I love chimichuri sauce. In fact I still have a little put away in the fridge from the last time I made it.

  18. How did you know I love chimichurri. It is the best in the summer and makes you feel cool just eating it. Thanks for the great recipe, Lazaro!

  19. You always have the most intriguing marinades Laz - I love the addition of Killian's and garlic chips are a favourite Asian garnish!

    I also love how you often use less expensive cuts of beef to great effect. Skirt steak may not be the most tender of cuts but it certainly is very flavourful! The presentation is beautiful, as always!

  20. It looks like you're making up for not having a grill in fine style!!

  21. This is a beautiful meal! The salad sounds so flavorful with the mission figs and garlic chips -- I'm definitely going to make the chips!

  22. Oh you know how much I love herbs! so this is definitely my kind of flavors! what a beautifully thought dish combination. I can tell the beef is cooked to perfection and has a light pink color in the middle. I adore chimichurri sauce and make it very often as a meat accompaniment...lovely lovely lovely Lazaro!

  23. I would be annoyed too when people are talking about grill and if i couldn't grill :) Great info on marinade! I didn't know alcohol needs to be cooked first! my friend marinaded meat with fresh beer haha.

    The garlic chip looks amazing. I even thought it was a chip. Great presentation as always. Your dish is sophisticated.

  24. The marinade sounds really great! And I love the herb salad--might try that with some tempeh or something.

  25. Lazaro, thanks for explaining the difference between the two cuts of the skirt steak. Your marinade sounds really delicious. We've just bought a condo that has a few gas grills that we're allowed to use. In looking at condos, I found that it was unusual to see that.

    Great presentation as always as I've come to expect from you.

  26. I do love using skirt steak - something the Italians often use but can be hard to find. The marinade is scrumptious. I am very appreciative of the directions on "how to plate." (Not my strong point).

  27. Mmmm, another of my favorite dishes. Love the spices in your chimichurri.

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner

  28. Oh I love skirt steak and this sounds amazing. I was just told by my doctor that I need to eat more meat so this is perfect timing :)

    Hope you had a fabulous weekend!

  29. I don't know how I missed this! I think my reader is getting a bit full haha.

    This looks great. I love the touch of the garlic chips. :)

  30. Great recipe and great composition ! Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  31. This meal is right up my alley - I adore skirt steak and chimichurri sauce! Paired with a nice glass of Malbec - delicious:)

  32. Talk about flavour! WOW! This would pack a punch! What a great dish! I have just pasted it to print and plan to make it this weekend. YUM!!!!

  33. I didn't know churrasco and skirt steak were the same thing.

    Thanks for sharing the chimichurri recipe. I have never tasted it. I wasn't a 'foodie' yet when I lived in the States so I have never tried it even though it was available commercially. And it's definitely not available here. Now I know where to go when I need to use it.

    And all those flavors are my type. I just love using herbs and garlic.

  34. Lovely dish and excellent presentation! I also love that vibrant green color flavorful Chimichurri sauce!Great!

  35. what lovely presentation! chimichurri delivers on every level--sight, smell, taste, texture, it's awesome. :)

  36. I love skirt steak here in Texas we use all the time, recently for our anniversary we went to a great spot and had the best Churrasco, oh yum..I love your chimichurri and the garlic oh what great texture...we recently moved to an apartment so hubby could finish his master's degree and their is no rooom for our grill, how depressing...I fell ya!!

  37. Hey Laz, I love chimichurri and I always order dishes that have it when I'm out. Skirt steak is something we used to love too-I used to work at a tapas bar that had an awesome skirt steak. You know my flex diet doesn't really allow for much beef, but this sounds wonderful. Really wonderful!


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