Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Grilled Steak with Chiles & Salsa Verde

Grilled Steak with Chiles
Originally uploaded by michelle1975.

OK, the photo's a little out of focus, but that's only because I was so excited to dig in I could barely contain myself. We'd been wanting to make this dish for several months, ever since we'd come across the recipe (and the mouth-watering photo that accompanied it) in Saveur a while back. At the time it wasn't BBQ season yet, though, so we were forced to hold off. By last Sunday, we couldn't wait any longer.

We picked up a couple of flank steaks and some red chiles at Latina, headed over to Park Ave. to pick up some shallots (as well as a few other ingredients for our salsa verde), then rushed home to get to work.

The prep couldn't have been easier. We salted and peppered the steaks, then set them aside to sit for 15-20 minutes. I fired up the grill and threw on the red chiles and the shallots (in their skins), keeping them off to the side of the flames so that they wouldn't get overly charred, and grilled them for 15 minutes, until the chiles had turned smoky and sweet and the shallots were cooked through and very tender. Michelle then peeled the shallots, chopped them, and tossed them in olive oil with the chiles while I cooked the steaks. The cooking time on the steaks was pretty quick--about 2-3 minutes per side over a medium fire, depending on the thickness of the steaks. When they were grilled to our liking (rare for me, medium-rare for Michelle), I took them off the heat and let them sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. This method results in a particularly juicy, tasty steak.

We served the steaks over mixed greens from the garden, and dressed the steaks with the chile and shallot sauce. The finishing touches: guacamole and salsa verde with tortilla chips, and a couple of beers.

You can make a pretty excellent salsa verde on the stovetop, but the best salsa verde is made with grilled tomatillos. I husked and rinsed 8 tomatillos, brushed them with oil, then grilled them until they were nicely and fairly evenly blackened on the outside (I also grilled a serrano pepper at the same time). I then added them to a blender, along with 2 garlic cloves, about 1 tablespoon of minced white onion, 1/3 cup of cilantro, 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, the grilled serrano pepper, salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste. Like I said, salsa verde off the stovetop is also very satisfying, but nothing beats the smokiness of this grilled tomatillo version. Tomatillos aren't the easiest thing to find in Montreal, but most, if not all, of the Latin American specialty stores carry them and Michelle found the ones we used up at Jean-Talon Market.


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