Loyal readers of this blog may be asking themselves if I've forgotten how to cook over the last couple of months. The answer is yes, yes, I have. Or at least, I might as well have. Long work hours, a busy social calendar, hot weather and pure laziness made it difficult to prepare any sort of bloggable meal. But now that things have slowed down just a tad, and the cooler fall weather is making it feel like a pleasure instead of a punishment to have the oven and stove on, I'm trying to make an effort to get myself back in the kitchen. First up was a combination of these relatively easy skirt steak with hazelnut romesco recipes I found on Tasting Table and in the October issue of Bon Appetit.
Next, I toasted the almonds and hazelnuts over medium low heat in a saucepan with just a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 10 minutes. Once they were toasty, I gave them a rough chop and set them aside.
The last element of the sauce was the bread, which I just tossed with a bit of olive oil and toasted for about 5-8 minutes over medium heat.
Here's the fun/tricky part - making it taste right. I put the peppers, garlic, tomatoes, nuts, and bread in the blender, turned it on, and slowly drizzled in about 3/4 cup of olive oil. Once well combined, I turned off the blender (important step!!!!) tasted the sauce, and added in a splash or two of red wine vinegar and a little salt and pepper, and blended again. To loosen up the sauce a little, I added about 1/4 cup of water. I kept repeating this process (blend, add vinegar and seasoning, add water), until I had a sauce that was just barely thinned enough to drizzle, with enough acidity to make it tangy. I think in total I added about 1 cup of water and probably 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, I mixed together 1 tbsp of kosher salt, 1 tbsp of sugar, 2 tsp of toasted ground fennel seed, 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, 1 tsp of cayenne, and 1 tsp of garlic powder. It smelled heavenly as I rubbed it all over the skirt steak. I let the steak sit for about 10 minutes before I cooked it.
I heated a couple of tbsp of olive oil in my cast iron skillet over medium high heat, then quickly pan-seared the steak, 2-3 minutes per side for a perfect medium rare. I let the steak sit for about 5 minutes, then sliced it against the grain and served it with the romesco drizzled over top.
Romesco is new to me, but I really enjoyed the nuttiness and thickness of it. And I've never cooked skirt steak at home before, but given how quick and easy it is to cook and how flavorful, I think it's going to be popping up again and again. The sauce and steak also tasted great as leftovers in a sandwich the following day, or so Mark tells me. In any event, I'm just happy to be back in the kitchen relearing my cooking skills.