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Marinated Skirt Steak Taco with Jalapeño and Pineapple Salsa

IMG_7953I must really look overwhelmed because my sister Carmen offered to post to my site.  I know she doesn’t usually follow recipes but I’ve wanted to have something from Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales since she reviewed it for The Latin Kitchen.  I offered to take the pictures if she would do the heavy lifting, and I got to try really great tacos I didn’t make myself.  Enjoy!

When I was little, I loved the first day of school.  It wasn’t that I was popular or liked homework.  I loved the idea that I would know things at the end of the year that I didn’t at the beginning of it.  Every new book, new teacher, new class was filled with opportunities to know more.  But, I savored the idea of it more than it’s actuality.  Very much like cooking with a recipe.

With Ana deeply buried in recipe testing and research for her upcoming book, she asked if I would post for her again.  “Sure,” I replied breezily.  I figured I would make my grilled skirt steak with coarse salt and pepper over high heat.  I even ventured that I could add sliced avocado and maybe some oil and vinegar.  Ana was not impressed and asked me to make something out of Roberto Santibanez’s Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales  instead.

Ugh.  I loved Santibanez’s simple approach but I hate cooking from recipes.  I’m much more the ‘what’s in the fridge ‘Ooh! That all goes great together’-kind of cook. But even I have to admit that nothing I make ever hits as many notes as Ana’s cooking.  But I knew Ana wouldn’t ask unless she needed it and I also realized It was the start of a new school year.  I still miss the excitement of breaking open that first package of notebook paper wondering what to fill it with.  So I relented and and I picked the marinated skirt steak taco and suggested jalapeño and pineapple sauce.  Looking at the recipe, I started with my salsa cause it needed less prep and more cooling time.  I was very proud of myself for catching that.  I lined up all of my ingredients and started hacking away.

IMG_7873My first lesson came pretty quickly.  Do NOT chop any kind of hot pepper without wearing gloves.  I was sitting pretty chopping away at the serranos when Ana asked why I wasn’t wearing gloves.   “These aren’t that hot,” I tossed over my shoulder.  “Ok…But it’s a chemical burn that won’t hit you right away so be careful,” she semi scolded.  I rebelled and five minutes later, Ana was putting aloe on my palms as I was using language that warranted after dinner detention.

Working through the burn, I had everything cut into neat little piles and threw most of the ingredients in the blender.  I wondered why recipes bothered me so much, everything was relatively easy up to that point.  Then I got cocky.  I glanced quickly at the ingredients and mistook a teaspoon for tablespoon and had to scoop out some extra salt at the last minute.  After waiting the required marinade time, I grilled the meat but forgot to warm the tortillas so I had to double back for that.  As Ana set the table it hit me, “Garnish!  I forgot the garnish!” so I cut up some red onion, lime and cilantro and I grabbed the coarse salt. I was exhausted by the time my sister was ready to photograph the tacos. I can’t remember the last time I had done this much thinking in the kitchen. The  final test came and we each had a taco.  They were delicious and worth the trouble.  The whole experience reminded my that trying something new is never easy, but it’s almost always rewarding. Lesson learned.

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 7.09.46 PM

Marinated Skirt Steak Taco with Jalapeño and Pineapple Salsa
Barely adapted from Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales by Robert Santibañez

½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
½ small red onion roughly chopped
½ medium fresh jalapeño chile with seeds
1 whole garlic clove
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed and cut width-wise into 3 or 4 pieces

Put all ingredients except for the skirt steak in the blender.  Pulse until the marinade is smooth and well combined.  Place the steak in a large mixing bowl and cover with the marinade.  Gently massage the marinade into all the steak pieces and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1-3 hours.

Preheat the grill or heavy skillet over high heat. Cook the steak only turning it over once, about 4 minutes on each side for medium rare. Let it cool on a cutting board for 3 minutes then cut into small chunks against the grain.  Garnish with sliced red onion and cilantro.  Top with jalapeño and pineapple salsa.

Serve alongside 12 warm corn tortillas

Jalapeño and Pineapple Salsa:
6 ounces fresh jalapeños roughly chopped include seeds
¼ cup finely chopped white onion
2 small garlic cloves peeled
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
¾ cup pineapple, cored and diced into ¼-inch pieces
¼ cup olive oil
1¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Place the jalapeños, onions, garlic, chicken stock in a blender and pulse until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a small saucepan.  Stir in the pineapple, oil and salt bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil for one minute, stirring frequently
Pour it into a serving bowl and let it cool completely.  Season with salt to taste.  The salsa keeps refrigerated for three days.

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. kat #

    I could totally do this! Looks amazing!

    26 August 2013
  2. ¡Qué rico!

    26 August 2013
  3. This looks delicious! Regarding the salsa, how hot was it (sounds like “very”)?

    27 August 2013
  4. Great story. I too have had the jalapeno hands experience. It’s hilarious. Thanks for the beautiful post. Me encantan los tacos.

    27 August 2013
  5. This recipe looks simplistically divine. And skirt steak if marinated & cooked properly will be anyone’s new favorite cut of beef.

    28 August 2013
  6. Lovely story – and deeeeeelicious looking. gracias!

    13 September 2013
  7. Love it!

    19 September 2013
  8. Looks incredible! Your pictures are beautiful.

    24 September 2013
  9. So glad I came across this…just picked up two skirt steaks and was floundering on what to do with them. Jackpot! Thanks so much!

    18 October 2013
  10. It looks beautiful , thanks for sharing .

    31 December 2013

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