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Now the statement above should make it clear that I do not have any formal training when it comes to food preparation. I have, however, been told that I am a pretty good cook and I hope you enjoy reading this column as much as I enjoy writing it.
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Cuban food is delicious. It’s full of color and flavor, but most importantly it can be easily prepared with a quick trip to your local grocery store or farmers market. This next recipe makes a tender, flavorful skirt steak, but does require some prep time as the recipe states that the marinade is best after 24 hours. The original recipe also calls for panfrying the steak, but I’ve modified it a bit so we could grill it instead. For the full, original recipe, go to http://tinyurl.com/ohajztt.
Cuban-style skirt steak with classic sour orange mojo
For the skirt steak (also called hanger steak)
1½ pound skirt steak, trimmed (I used 3 pounds)
½ teaspoon, or to taste
1 lime, quartered
Sour orange mojo
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 Scotch bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded and minced (store didn’t have Scotch bonnet so I used jalapeno)
1 to 2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted (I used 2 teaspoons ground cumin)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup equal parts lime and orange juice or 1/3 cup sour orange juice
1 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (I used red wine)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Season the steak(s) with salt and set aside. Place the olive oil into a small saucepan and place it over medium-low heat to warm (do not let it get too warm). While the oil is warming, place the salt, garlic, cumin and Scotch bonnet into a mortar and grind them with the pestle (if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just grind it in a food processor). Once the oil is warm, add the seasonings to it and let it steep for 10 minutes or more before whisking in the juice(s) and vinegar; season with pepper to taste and transfer to a jar or covered dish.
You can now do one of two things at this point: place the steak in the mojo sauce and let it marinate for an hour (unrefrigerated) before grilling, or if you plan to let the mojo meld overnight, let the seasoned skirt steak do the same by placing it uncovered on a wire rack in the fridge. The next day, take the mojo and steak out of the refrigerator one hour before ready to grill; place the steak in a baking dish, cover it with the mojo sauce and let it marinate one hour before grilling.
Serve immediately with lime on the side to squeeze over their steak. This steak pairs well with rice or a green salad. My kids went one step further and wrapped it in tortilla shells.
You can also substitute flank steak for skirt here, but remember that both can become very tough if overcooked. When slicing the meat, cut against the grain for tender, juicy pieces. If you’re using the original 1½ pounds called for in the recipe, you will have some mojo sauce left over. Just refrigerate it and use it later to marinate chicken or pork.. delicious.