Why is it that nearly all recipes for stir-fried beef call for flank steak? I've been following the advice for years, but have never been truly satisfied with the end results. Sure, flank steak is pretty meaty, absorbs marinades well, and can come out tender. But may I propose an alternative? Skip the flank and go for the skirt.
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My wife does not love polenta. This puts a certain strain on our marriage. There is, of course, nothing not to love about polenta, especially when it's buttery, cheesy, creamy, and covered in a flavorful sauce. I know this, and I think she secretly knows this. Still, when I cook polenta, I like to hedge my bets by not putting too much time or effort into it. This quick polenta with skirt steak and tomatoes is about as easy as a meaty polenta dish can get.
Classic grilled steak fajitas in a richly flavored marinade, served with sizzled peppers and onions in soft flour tortillas.
Unless I'm going for a big, juicy, dry-aged ribeye, the skirt steak is my favorite cut for grilling. It's got a loose texture with a distinct grain and big, buttery swaths of fat that run through it, keeping it nice and moist as it cooks. And while it's no longer necessarily dirt cheap at the supermarket, it's also a cut that comes out juicy and flavorful, even when you don't spring for the extra-fatty prime-graded stuff, which can help keep a few bucks in your wallet. At my local supermarket, it runs around half the price-per-pound of a prime ribeye steak—a bargain in my book. As with any inexpensive steak, the key to success starts in knowing how to trim it properly to maximize flavor and tenderness. Here's how to do it.
Lemony oregano, thyme and mint-marinated skirt steak is served alongside herbaceous, feta and lemon potatoes.
Herbs join marinated steak and lemony feta-sprinkled potatoes.
Whenever I think of having steak for dinner, it's usually with gluttonous intentions in mind. But steak and salad? Well, that's a totally different story. Though I could be eating the exact same amount of steak as before, now there are vegetables involved, and everything starts sounding far more reasonable.
Of all the inexpensive cuts on the cow, the skirt is probably the greatest dollar-to-flavor value out there. Riddled with plenty of buttery, beefy fat with a deep, rich flavor and a tender, juicy texture, it's a tough cut not to like.
These are the butcher's cuts. These are the cuts that chefs love to use because not only are they inexpensive, but they've got character. Here is a brief overview of my five favorite inexpensive steaks: the hanger, the tri-tip, the short-rib, the skirt, and the flap meat.
Chimichurri with steak is certainly not a new idea, and in fact it's probably the most common way that this Argentinian sauce is used (and they know a thing or two about steak in that country). The garlicky, herbal flavors marry beautifully with the richness and fattiness of steak, not to mention its visually stunning contrast of green against red. Flipping through this month's Esquire magazine, I was immediately drawn in by this variation on chimmichurry from Ted Allen's new book In My Kitchen.
Chimichurri with steak is certainly not a new idea, and in fact it's probably the most common way that this Argentinian sauce is used (and they know a thing or two about steak in that country). The garlicky, herbal flavors marry beautifully with the richness and fattiness of steak, not to mention its visually stunning contrast of green against red.
A rub of cumin, ancho chile powder, cinnamon and paprika gives grilled skirt steak a smokey, spicy and slightly sweet flavor.
This Skirt Steak with Red Miso adapted from The Japanese Grill by Harris Salat and Tadashi Ono brings together a whole host of savory ingredients (garlic, miso, and tobanjan, a chili soy bean paste) for an over the top marinade that could work with nearly any cut of meat. Salat and Ono have opted for skirt steak, a thin but super beefy cut that cooks quickly and marinates like a dream. This particular steak reaches medium-rare in just about 3 minutes per side, while the flames of the grill caramelize the miso marinade, giving the steak a crunchy, charred crust.
Skirt is the steak of the gods. Anyone who doesn't agree just hasn't had it properly cooked. Luckily, preparing it to heavenly results is well within reach for anyone with a grill. Here are tips for grilling, slicing, and serving perfect skirt steak.
Chili powders form the base of a marinade for this skirt steak, which is grilled, sliced, and piled into corn tortillas with tomatoes, cilantro, and cilantro cream for a beefy, spicy, fresh, and cool taco.
Skirt steak sits on a bed of a baby arugula, grape tomatoes, and tortilla chips, which is then topped with a cilantro-lime dressing for a simple, yet incredibly flavorful salad.
It's not exactly Mexican and not exactly European, but a nice compromise between the two. The recipe can be made with a high-quality canned tuna or, in this variation, topped with thin slices of medium-rare skirt steak. But the real star is the mixture of warm potatoes, poblanos, and sweet slices of red onion, dressed lightly with rice vinegar and olive oil and seasoned with a little oregano.
This is no time for dainty fare. With much of the past week spent below zero here in Chicago, I needed something substantial, rich, and warming. Though I didn't have time for a hefty stew, I still dreamt of a...
The first of our highlighted Cook the Book recipes out of the gate this week is adapted from an April Bloomfield dish in The Oprah Magazine Cookbook. Bloomfield is the chef at celebrated New York City gastropub The Spotted Pig....