Many years ago, when I was restaurant critic for Las Vegas Life magazine, I visited Mary Sue Milliken’s and Susan Feniger’s Border Grill restaurant in Vegas. The most memorable dish of that day was grilled skirt steak with Southwestern flavorings such as cumin, jalapeños, lime juice and such.
Here is my take on that delicious dish. It’s really simple. Most of the work comes in the prep stage. Prepare the meat and marinade a day ahead of time and then just pop it onto a hot grill when you’re ready to eat. This would be terrific to serve on Cinco de Mayo with cold margaritas alongside.
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. skirt steak, flank steak or flat-iron steak (I use flat-iron here)
- 1/3 cup cumin seeds
- A handful of cilantro or Italian parsley (I don’t like cilantro, so I use parsley to help give the marinade some color and flavor.)
- 2-3 jalapeño chile peppers, stemmed and chopped (I don’t bother to seed them, but you can if you want to cut down on the heat.)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 Tbs. cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
1.First, you’ll prepare a marinade for the meat.
- Lightly toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat.
- Place all of the ingredients except the steak into a blender or food processor.
- Puree until you have a paste with a creamy texture, much like pesto. If the marinade is too thick (if you can’t pour it), add a little more olive oil to thin the paste out a little.
- Pour the paste into a sealable freezer bag and add the meat. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 24 or up to 48 hours. (If you don’t have that much time, allow the meat to marinade for at least six hours.)
2. Preheat a grill to high. Sear the steak on both sides, 3-4 minutes for medium-rare — about 130 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
3. Wrap the cooked steak in foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes
4. Slice the steak against the grain and serve.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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