Skirt Steak Skewers with Mexican "Chimichurri"
Makes 12 skewers serving 4 as an appetizer
This recipe came about because even though it was winter outside, I was dreaming about spring and being able to grill outside again. Since going outside wasn't an option, (I'm not keen on grilling during a snow storm), I used my cast iron grill pan on the stovetop and the results were great. So, whether you make this recipe on the grill or use a grill pan, it provides a new twist to a grilling staple.
The leftover chimichurri sauce can be used to spice up any meat, chicken or fish dish. It's also great as a condiment on sandwiches.
1 pound skirt steak cut into 8-inch lengths
1/2 head garlic (6 to 8 cloves)
2 to 3 serrano chiles, stems discarded
1 bunch cilantro, tough lower stems removed
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, tough lower stems removed
1/2 cup olive oil plus about 1 tablespoon to brush on the steaks
6-inch wooden skewers
Place the skirt steaks in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for about 45 minutes until they are partially frozen. Remove and using a very sharp knife, slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch pieces. Place back on the baking sheet in a single layer and set aside for about 15 minutes until the steak reaches room temperature.
While you're waiting for the steak, you can make the chimichurri sauce. Set a dry skillet over medium heat. Lay the unpeeled garlic cloves and chiles in the pan. Roast, turning frequently, until soft and blotchy brown in spots, about 10 minutes for the chiles and 15 minutes for the garlic. Cool, then slip the skins off the garlic. Roughly chop the garlic and chiles and place in a food processor along with the cilantro, parsley, 1/2 cup oil, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Process until nearly smooth. Scoop into a bowl and taste to adjust seasonings and consistency. You're looking for a consistency that you'll be able to drizzle over the finished skewers.
Once the steak strips have reached room temperature, season both sides with salt and pepper. Roll each of the steak strip into a tight spiral and secure with a wooden skewer. Lightly brush both sides of the steak with the reserved oil. Wrap a small piece of foil around the bottom bare part of each of the skewer to protect it from scorching. *
Heat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let burn until the charcoal is covered with gray ash but still very hot; alternatively, heat a grill pan on medium-high. When the grill grates or grill pan are quite hot, lay the steak skewers on the grill and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from the grill and transfer to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to rest for several minutes.
Arrange on the skewers on a platter and drizzle on the chimichurri sauce. Refrigerate any leftover sauce for later use.
* COOK'S NOTE: I know that the accepted way to prevent wooden skewers from scorching is to soak them in water, but that method has never been completely successful for me. I find that wrapping the skewers in foil works the best. It protected them from the heat and once removed, your guests have a clean skewer to hold on to.