Now that the sun is shining again after a week's worth of much needed rain, I'm in the mood for a delicious grilled dish, and this skirt steak certainly qualifies as that. Those of you who are Suzanne Goin fans may recognize this recipe as a slight adaptation of one from her gorgeous cookbook Sunday Suppers at Lucques. It's a book I've owned for a year or more, but am just starting to cook from now….silly me for waiting so long.
Goin is a chef of impeccable taste and extraordinary technique, yet what strikes me most about her food is how real and unpretentious it all feels. I can't wait to cook more dishes from this fabulous book.
I chose this dish as a first swing at her recipes for two reasons. First, I am a huge fan of skirt steak and am turning to it more and more often as a delicious and reasonably priced cut of beef. Second, I wanted to show the kids how easy it is to craft your own mayonnaise, and by extension a terrific aioli. For those of you who are new to skirt steak, you're in for a treat. It's a thin cut that cooks quickly over a hot fire, is wonderfully textured and exhibits a rich beefy flavor. As it's naturally lower in fat than many other cuts, it's a perfect partner for Goin's seriously delicious aioli. The aioli is so good that I predict many of you will make another batch soon, then scour your fridge to suss out what other foods might work well to deliver its goodness to your drooling mouth. If you're anything like Arthas, you'll be slathering it on your morning toast, and your slice of bread with dinner!
In her book, Goin dishes up the steak and aioli with an artichoke – potato hash which as delicious as it sounds, required a bit more time than we could spare when cooking dinner the other night. We served ours up instead with a simple batch of mashed spuds and some roasted asparagus….there was much rejoicing.
Cheers – Steve
for the steak:
- 2 pounds skirt steak
- 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely minced rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely minced thyme leaves
- kosher salt
for the aioli:
- 1 extra large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup EVOO
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/4 cup pitted, oil cured black olives, such as Nyons
- 1/2 lemon, for juice
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
for the steak:
- Cut any excess fat or sinew from the steak, then coat both sides with the cracked black pepper, rosemary and thyme. Cover well and refrigerate at least three hours, or overnight.
- Bring the steak to room temperature before grilling. Season generously with kosher salt, then grill over a medium-high flame until just medium rare (go to medium if you must, but no further please), this should only take 5-6 minutes total cooking time, or about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Let the steak rest, tented with foil for 5-8 minutes before cutting against the grain and serving.
For the aioli:
- Place the egg yolk in a stainless steel bowl. begin whisking in the grapeseed oil drop by drop, as slowly as you can bear. Continue in this manner, following with the olive oil, as the mixture thickens.
- Once the mayonnaise has emulsified, add the remaining oil in a steady stream, whisking all the time. If the mixture gets too thick and is difficult to whisk (this will likely happen), add a drop or two of water.
- Pound the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a mortar. Add half the olives and pound to a paste. Roughly chop the remaining olives.
- Fold the garlic-olive paste into the mayonnaise, season with an additional 1/4 teaspoon salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, and the cayenne pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning. If the aioli seems thick and gloppy, thin it with a little water; this will also make it creamier.