Recipe courtesy of Robert Irvine

Grilled Skirt Steak with Watercress and Salsa

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 35 min
  • Active: 1 hr 35 min
  • Yield: 6 servings



Smoked Tomatillo Rice:



Skirt Steak:



Special equipment:
1 cup hickory wood chips, soaked in water 1 hour; a smoker; a perforated aluminum pan
  1. For the salsa: Prepare a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grates. Cut 6 of the tomatoes in half and place them on the grill with the jalapenos. Char, turning regularly to promote even cooking, until the skins are blackened, about 20 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the bulb of garlic. Place the garlic bulb on a sheet pan and roast until the garlic is tender and can be squeezed out of the bulb, 30 to 45 minutes. While hot, turn the bulb upside down and squeeze the bulb from the root end to the top, pushing the roasted garlic cloves out of the bulb. Crush and chop 4 cloves of the roasted garlic and stir together with the red onions and cilantro in a bowl. (Save the remaining roasted garlic for another use.)
  3. Quarter and seed the remaining 6 tomatoes and dice the flesh. Add to the bowl with the garlic and onions. Remove some of the charred skin from the roasted tomatoes, then dice the tomatoes with the seeds. Put them into the bowl with the rest of the salsa ingredients.
  4. Remove some of the charred skin from the jalapenos and cut in half. Remove the seeds and dice the jalapeno. Add to the bowl with rest of the salsa.
  5. Add the lime juice and mix the salsa. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let the salsa sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  6. For the smoked tomatillo rice: Heat a smoker to 350 degrees F. Drain 1 cup hickory wood chips that have been soaked for 1 hour and add them to the smoking pan of a smoker.
  7. Put the tomatillos and red onions in a perforated pan and place in the smoker. Smoke the vegetables for 10 minutes, then remove from the smoker and transfer to a blender. Add the cilantro and honey and puree until slightly chunky. Season with salt and pepper. (If it is still tart, add more honey).
  8. Bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil in a pot. Stir in the rice and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook the rice until all of the liquid has been absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, then stir in 1 cup of the tomatillo salsa (save the remainder for another use). Cover again and hold warm for plating.
  9. For the guacamole: Combine the cilantro and yellow onion in a blender and blend until almost pureed but still a little chunky.
  10. Scoop the flesh out of the avocados and put them in a bowl. Add the onion-cilantro puree and mash the avocados with a fork. Add the tomato, red onion and lime juice and mix well. Season with the salt and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the guacamole.
  11. For the vinaigrette: Combine the lime juice, cilantro and honey in a bowl, then slowly whisk in the vegetable oil and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  12. For the skirt steak: Combine the vegetable oil, olive oil, cilantro and garlic. Pour over the steaks and marinate the steaks for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  13. Prepare the grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grates. Remove the steak from the marinade. Season with salt and pepper and cook until grill marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Heat a skillet or saute pan over medium heat on the stovetop. Transfer the marked steak to the skillet and finish cooking on the stovetop over medium heat, flipping once, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Allow the steak to rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing against the grain and on a bias.
  14. For plating: Divide the rice among 6 plates. Lay the sliced steak over the top of the rice. Top each plate with a large tablespoon of the guacamole.
  15. Combine the watercress and red onions in a bowl and dress them with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Toss the watercress salad and divide among the plates, piling it on top of the steak. Spoon 2 to 3 ounces of salsa over the top of each salad. Sprinkle the plate with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.