Although I'm still on my Les Halles journey, I'm still taking the time to explore recipes from other cookbooks. If you haven't bought Thomas Keller's ad hoc at home yet, you might want to add that to your Christmas wish list. Even if you don't cook a single thing out of that book (but why wouldn't you?), ad hoc is just a great read for anyone that's interested in food. From trussing poultry, dressing salads to basics like seasoning food, Chef Keller explains how and why each step is performed in the kitchen. If you need additional food porn to convince yourself to buy this book, check out Jimmy's belly of pork or Arnold from Inuyaki's asparagus. Now onto the main reason for this post...
This is a relatively simple but tasty recipe for skirt steak. The skirt steak is marinated in an olive oil, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorn marinade then grilled. I prepared the marinade while studying for a test so there's no reason why you can't do this at home. Just combine olive oil, herbs, crushed garlic and peppercorns in a pot and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat off and let the oil cool down to room temperature. This infuses the olive oil with those amazing flavors to make your ordinary steaks extraordinary. Pour the marinade into a ziplock bag or container and marinade the skirt steaks for at least 4 hours, overnight or up to 24 hours.
30 minutes before grilling the meat, remove it from the marinade, pat dry, season with salt and pepper and allow the meat to reach room temperature. Seasoning is done 30 minutes prior so when the meat hits the hot pan, the salt doesn't dissolve into the pan but rather retained in the steak. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F as the steak will finish cooking in the oven.
Heat up some neutral oil in a hot pan (cast iron works great for this) and add the steaks. Sear the steaks for 1.5 minutes per side adding thyme, garlic and butter after flipping the steak to baste. After the steak finishes searing on the second side, it's placed in the preheated oven for 8 - 10 minutes for medium rare or an internal temperature of 125 degrees F.
(my second steak, I cooked mine in batches)
Make sure the meat's rested after cooking. This step is so crucial. If you slice into the steak (or any meat for that matter) right after it comes out of the oven, all the juices flow out of the meat leaving you with a dry and flavorless product. Letting the steak cool down will force those delicious juices to go back into the cells giving you that perfect, juicy steak. Resting should probably be reemphasized since Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Turkey is dry enough as it is so make sure that bird's rested!I really enjoyed the marinated steak. It was pleasantly flavored with the herbs and garlic without overpowering the flavor of the steak. I made a really basic succotash (not worth showing/taking a picture of) to go along with the steak and I have to say that I was a happy man for the rest of the night. But then again, who isn't happy after eating a great piece of steak? (okay, maybe those vegetarians but that's a topic for another day)