I feel pretty lucky that I’m able to cook for a living. Preparing food for others to enjoy is satisfying on many levels. I take pride in the craft, and I get fulfillment from the joy it can bring to complete strangers. It is an emotionally charged profession, which demands attention to the details and a care for the craft. To excel in hospitality requires that we go above and beyond the motions of service. When we cook for complete strangers, it’s imperative that we treat them as family. Food is a necessity. When it’s paired with great service and understanding of hospitality, it transcends comfort; it becomes an act of love. It is this philosophy that drives me through the day to day of food service. Food without love fulfills a basic need, but a meal prepared from the heart can provide a nurturing experience.
Great meals mark the most important milestones in our lives. We feast at weddings, funerals, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras. The food is never the main focus, but it is often the centerpiece for any gathering, how ever large or small. Great food brings us together. Cultures are defined by cuisines and can be fused together with melding flavors.
Most first dates are spent in diners and restaurants. The building blocks of a great relationship are built upon the first few shared meals. Idiosyncrasies are on display. There is a distinct vulnerability to sharing an intimate meal, and a greater vulnerability when preparing a meal out of love and service. Confidence is the key to food preparation. Understanding the mechanics and techniques required to prepare a certain ingredient is imperative to success, but applying love, care and finesse is the only way to elevate the experience altogether.
Skirt steak is one of those ingredients that benefits from a little bit of extra love. The skirt steak is the thin, lean muscle from the diaphragm of the cow. It is very active and lean, comprised of tough muscle fibers. Skirt has a very rich beef flavor and the tough muscular fiber takes on acidic marinades very well. The acidic content of a marinade denatures the protein in tough cuts, allowing a more tender result when cooked. It is this very reason that skirt is often used in preparation of fajitas and bulgogi. If prepared properly, skirt is a suitable substitute for any of the “Hollywood” cuts that dominate the beef market. I’m referring to ribeye, filet, and strip loin. Skirt is a leaner and cheaper cut but is just as flavorful—if not more so—than any of these celebrated beef cuts. That makes it a much more versatile muscle. And it can me more fun to experiment with, since it’s a more affordable cut of meat.
This particular recipe is perfect for special occasions, but can easily be used for casual gatherings. It can be prepared delicately for two with pommes frites and cured asparagus, or it can be used to serve large gatherings with corn tortillas and green pepper sauce, or maybe french bread and aioli. No matter the setting, it is best prepared with love and served from the heart.
SUPER DELICIOUS SKIRT STEAK
One pound grass-fed skirt steak, trimmed and cleaned
2 oz good sherry vinegar
2 oz delicious mustard, either dijon or whole grain
6 oz pure olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
4 sprigs minced fresh thyme, parsley, or rosemary
- Remove the silver skin membrane and any excess fat from the skirt steak.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, garlic, and herbs. Whisk in the oil to emulsify.
- Combine the marinade with the trimmed skirt steak and let sit for at least 4-6 hours, but no more than 8 hours.
- Season aggressively with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- Heat a seasoned cast iron skillet to medium high and sear the skirt steak for about four minutes on each side. Skirt is best enjoyed at medium rare, but certainly no more than medium.
- Slice thin, against the grain and enjoy!