Saturday, March 27, 2010

Marinated Skirt Steak

Thomas Keller's Great Garlic Dish
(CBS) Thomas Keller is a famed Napa Valley chef and restaurant owner. And the author of the recent New York Times bestseller "Ad Hoc at Home."

From April 8-11, he'll take part in California's Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. Keller has participated in this festival for a number of years, and in it, the crème de la crème of the culinary world assemble to give culinary demonstrations and to taste wine while playing some great golf.

"Early Show" Recipes Galore

When Keller goes to Pebble Beach, he likes to emphasize local ingredients, and one of the real specialties of the area is garlic. Garlic, Keller says, has many uses, from roasted garlic to garlic confit, and works in a variety of dishes, from pastas to salads.

Marinated Skirt Steak

6 thyme sprigs
Two 8-inch rosemary sprigs
4 small bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
5 garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
Six 8-ounce trimmed outer skirt steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
4 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on
Skirt steak, part of the diaphragm, is a very flavorful cut. There are two sections of the skirt, an outside muscle and an inside muscle. The inside muscle is smaller, a little more uneven, and a little tougher than the outer skirt, which we prefer. The outer skirt is still a tough cut of meat and, because it's served medium-rare, not tenderized through long cooking, you need to slice it across the grain, straight down (thereby shortening the long muscle fibers that otherwise make it tough), to ensure that it's tender. The marinade we use here, with abundant herbs and garlic, is excellent for all cuts of beef.

Combine the thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, and oil in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let the marinade cool to room temperature. Pull away the excess fat from the skirt steak and discard. If necessary, trim the steak of any silverskin. Cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces. Put in a dish or a resealable plastic bag, add the marinade, and cover the dish or seal the bag, squeezing out excess air. Marinate for at least 4 hours, or for up to a day, in the refrigerator.

Remove the meat from the marinade and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking; discard the marinade. Dry the meat with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Heat some canola oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When it shimmers, add half the meat and quickly brown the first side. Turn the meat and, working quickly, add 1 tablespoon of the butter, 2 thyme sprigs, and 1 garlic clove and brown the meat on the second side, basting constantly; the entire cooking process should take only about 11/2 minutes. Transfer the meat to the rack and spoon the butter, garlic, and thyme over the top. Wipe the pan and repeat with the remaining steaks.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the center of the meat registers about 125°F. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest on the rack in a warm place for about 10 minutes for medium-rare.

Arrange the steak on a serving platter, or slice each piece against the grain, cutting straight down, and arrange on the platter. Garnish with the garlic and thyme.


Marinated Cucumbers

6 small cucumbers (5 to 6 ounces each) or 2 pounds medium cucumbers
3/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut off the ends of the cucumbers and peel them. Seed the cucumbers if desired: cut the cucumbers lengthwise in half and use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds. Cut the cucumbers into half rounds, or into rounds (if you didn't seed them), batons, wedges, or any shape you like. Combine the vinegar, oil, red pepper, and sugar in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put the cucumbers in a canning jar or other storage container and pour the liquid over the top. Refrigerate for at least 1 day, or for up to 2 weeks. Before serving, remove any solidified oil from the top of the liquid and discard. Serve cold.


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