This recipe was inspired by Cuba’s (and Miami’s) ubiquitous mojo-marinated palomilla steak. The mojo (pronounced “mo-ho”) is a combination of citrus and garlic. In Cuba the citrus comes courtesy of a naranja agria, or “sour orange,” a fruit that looks like a bumpy green orange but tastes like a lime. Given the relative scarcity of the naranja in America, I’ve substituted a mixture of lime and orange. The meat--I have chosen skirt steak--picks up a lot of flavor from the mojo in a short amount of time. You can fit only half the steak at once in a large skillet, but it cooks very quickly. While the steak is resting for a few minutes, use the same skillet to sear the onion, which becomes the perfect crunchy topping for the tangy, garlicky meat.
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Kosher salt
- 1½ pounds skirt steak
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1. Combine ½ cup olive oil and the cumin seeds in a small saucepan; press in the garlic (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon). Heat the mixture over medium heat until it is hot and set aside to cool slightly. Finely chop the oregano (about 1½ teaspoons). Add the oregano, lime juice, orange zest, orange juice, oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt to the oil.
2. Trim the steak and cut into 6-inch lengths; place the pieces in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the citrus marinade over the steak; seal the bag and knead until the steak pieces are evenly coated with the marinade. Set the steak aside to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then pat very dry with paper towels. This is very important; if the steak is not dry, it will not sear properly.
3. Meanwhile, slice the onion (about 2 cups); coarsely chop the parsley (about ½ cup).
4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in each of 2 large skillets over high heat (if you don’t have 2 large skillets, work in batches). Sear half the steak pieces for 1 minute per side in each of the 2 hot pans and transfer them to a plate; cover them loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add half the onion (about 1 cup) to each of the pans with a pinch of salt and a little bit of water, if necessary (if the bottom of the pan has gotten too dark), and saute for 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Add the juices from the meat plate to the skillets. Thinly slice the steak across the grain. Serve the steak topped with the onion and chopped parsley.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.