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Pan-seared Skirt Steak Recipe with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Pan-seared Skirt Steak Recipe with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Today I’m giving you two recipes for the price of one. How’s that for ya? I’m feeling generous and you’re such good people that I couldn’t resist. Plus what fun is a meat recipe with no side items? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too – not too fun. All kidding aside, let’s get into the “meat” of this thing, shall we?

This post is going to start like my last post. And frankly, I hope that many more posts end up starting this way. Here goes: I was browsing around Hollygrove Market and Farm a couple of weeks ago looking for something interesting to cook. All the veggies were your standard winter fare – broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, and boat loads of citrus. However, I walk over to their meat case and saw something I’d not seen before: skirt steak. Bonus: they were already cut into half-pound portions, mostly cleaned.

I was intrigued and quickly snatched up two while calculating in my mind what do to with them.  The blood oranges in the case right next to the meat cooler spoke to me immediately. I’ve known that citrus makes a good marinade for beef and since blood oranges are so tasty, I decided to give them a whirl. I also knew I wanted to prepare this dish a little Tex-Mex-y so I decided to grab a head of cauliflower and prepare cauliflower rice, something my friend Katherine told me about a couple of weekends ago. We’ll get into that in a minute. Armed with steak, citrus and cauliflower, I was ready to make a real meal.

Pan-seared Skirt Steak Recipe with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice
Before we get any further, let’s pause and take a moment to pay homage to the formerly homely skirt steak. Once considered a “throw-away” cut of meat, skirt steak slowly began to gain popularity in the 1950’s when the vaqueros (ranch hands) working on the Texas-Mexican border were fed this cheap meat as a way for management to cut costs. Over time, those who prepared this meat figured out the best way to prepare it: marinate it in citrus or tequila, quickly cook it, and most importantly, cut it across the grain. As preparation methods improved, the quality of the final dishes improved to the point where people were asking for skirt steak at the butcher and intentionally using it as the main meat source in their cooking. While skirt steak isn’t known as the most tender cut of beef, its value comes in the flavor it possesses. It’s got a rich, beefy flavor that’s perfect for a dish where beef tasks center stage. Skirt steak was actually the original meat in fajitas, a word that means “sash” – named after the skirt steak. It all makes so much sense now, right?

Honestly, before this recipe, I’d never before cooked skirt steak. I’d seen it done and had wanted to cook it myself. I think for me it was more just an availability issue. I don’t think I’d ever picked a package up in the store and looked at it and said, “nah.” Being in South Louisiana, it’s just not a meat we encounter here all that often. When I saw it in Hollygrove that day, I knew it was my moment to step out of my comfort zone and buy some of that delicious meat I’ve been hearing so much about. Through research, I was able to ascertain what I already said above: the meat needs to be marinated, it only needs quick cooking, and when carved, it must be cut across the grain. Armed with these three basics, I figured there was little to mess up. Thankfully, I was right. Following these three simple guidelines, I was able to prepare a wonderfully delicious skirt steak meal on my first try.

Even though I’m really wishing now I had done fajitas with this meat (there’s always next time), I decided to simply pair this steak with some fresh cauliflower rice. As I said earlier, my friend Katherine told me about this phenomenon earlier this month during a delightful Sunday lunch meeting we had at my house. I was telling her about how I had grated the cauliflower for the salad we were eating, and that’s when she told me she did the same thing for cauliflower rice. Hmmm, cauliflower rice, you say? Tell me more! (these were my thoughts). Turns out this is a pretty simple dish that’s huge with the paleo crowd. It’s really little more than cauliflower, a little oil and some seasonings. On Katherine’s suggestion, I turned mine into cilantro and lime cauliflower rice, à la Chipotle’s famous rice dish. What can I say? That’s a winning combo. I’ve since made the regular rice like that twice, too. I’m pretty hooked.

Pan-seared Skirt Steak Recipe with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice
Okay so since this America and most people want starch with their meals, you can go ahead and add starch to this if you like. Perhaps you could make this into fajitas. Or serve this with roasted sweet potatoes. Up to you. Lately I’ve been trying to feed Jeremy and I fewer starches in our meals. I’ve been attempting to use whole grains whenever possible when I actually do use grains. I’ve been minimizing (but not avoiding) white flour at our house. Jeremy refuses to allow us to go “all the way” so we make compromises. I do keep bread in the house, but it’s locally baked bread by Wild Flour Breads that I get a Hollygrove. We only eat pasta occasionally. Often, we eat meals like this one – mostly based on meat and veggies, sans grains. Although honestly, we usually don’t have meat as a center of the plate item. That’s a rare and wonderful treat for us. Besides the cash cost for high quality meat, we also like to consider the environmental impacts of our meat consumption. That’s just a personal preference of ours.

Skirt steak has definitely earned a place in my home cooking repertoire. Jeremy really enjoyed it as did I. The affordable price point and quick cooking time definitely help make this a go-to week night dinner item. What about you? Have you tried skirt steak before? Liked it? Favorite preparations of it? Let me know in the comments below! And as always, thanks for being here and thanks for reading!

Pan-seared Skirt Steak Recipe with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Yield: 2 servings

Pan-seared Skirt Steak Recipe with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

This pan-seared skirt steak is first marinated in blood orange and lime juices plus jalapeño and cilantro; paired with cilantro-lime cauliflower rice.

Ingredients:

Pan-Seared Skirt Steak:

  • 1 pound skirt steak, cut into 2-8 ounce portions
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil such as light olive oil, grape seed oil or safflower seed oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped - stems and seeds removed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Juice of a blood orange (about 1/2 cup)
  • Juice of one small lime (about 3 tablespoons)

Cauliflower Rice:

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil such as light olive oil, grape seed oil or safflower seed oil
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, grated on box grater (about 2-3 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one small lime (about 3 tablespoons)

Method:

Pan-Seared Skirt Steak:

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in the first section that aren’t the steak. Add the steak and toss to coat the meat in the marinaded
  2. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Marinate for one hour, up to 4 hours. Remove from marinade and set on a plate until skillet is pre-heated. If you’re cooking in a skillet you don’t need to pat the meat dry. The excess marinade will add to the flavor of the final dish.
  3. Pre-heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add steak.
  4. Cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side for medium rare.  Let steak rest for 10 minutes then slice across the grain, about 1/4” thick.
  5. Note: if blood oranges aren’t in season, substitute 1/4 cup orange juice (not from concentrate).

Cauliflower Rice:

  1. In a skillet that you have a lid for, heat the oil over a medium high flame.
  2. Add the cauliflower, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Stir well.
  3. Turn down flame to medium (or even medium low depending on how hot your stove is). Cover the skillet to to steam the cauliflower. Check every minute or so to stir (prevents sticking or excessive browning). Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until cauliflower is softened to your liking.
  4. Remove from flame and stir in cilantro and lime juice. If needed, adjust seasonings with extra salt, pepper, lime and cilantro to suit your taste.
  5. Serve alongside sliced skirt steak.

Prep:15 min

Cook:10 min

Total:1 hour 20 min

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