Grilling season is upon us and here is a dish that can be cooked entirely on the grill meaning no ovens or stove tops to heat up your kitchen. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t heat. In fact, this dish is hot, hot, hot. In a good way of course so if you like your food spicy this is the dish for you. The recipe comes from Saveur Magazine and has two layers of heat, first in the marinade and second in the salsa that accompanies the steak.
The heat in the marinade comes from a Scotch Bonnet pepper which is pureed into the sauce alongside along with the fresh papaya and grapefruit juice. The acids in the fruit juice temper the heat of the pepper but it is still hot. If you prefer less heat, remove the pepper seeds before pureeing or substitute a milder pepper. And of course you want to take care and protect your skin when handling the pepper since its oils could irritate your skin. The heat in the salsa is much more subtle. The jalapeno are grilled alongside the onions, garlic, and tomatoes which gives the vegetables a slightly smokey flavor. Top the steak with the salsa and eat it wrapped in a corn tortilla or place the sliced meat on top of a bed of leafy greens and using the salsa as a dressing. Both versions are great on a hot summer evening.
GRAPEFRUIT & PEPPER FLANK STEAK w/ GRILLED TOMATO SALSA
1 cup roughly chopped papaya
½ cup olive oil
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, stemmed
Juice of 1 large Ruby Red grapefruit
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ lb. beef flank steak, trimmed
8 garlic cloves, peeled
3 jalapeño peppers, stemmed
4 plum tomatoes, cored
1 small white onion, cut in half crosswise
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems
Juice of 1 lime
Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving (optional)
- Place the papaya, half of the oil, the Scotch bonnet, grapefruit juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Using a stick blender puree the mixture into a smooth marinade.
- Pour ⅔ marinade into a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Add steak and seal bag; set aside to marinate for 30-45 minutes but no longer. Reserve remaining marinade.
- Heat a charcoal grill to high. Place the garlic, jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions in a grill basket and place on the hottest part of grill, turning as needed, until charred in spots and tender, 1-2 minutes for garlic, 4-6 minutes for jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions.
- Allow vegetables to cool slightly. Peel jalapeños and transfer to a bowl along with garlic, tomatoes, and onions. Add remaining oil, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
- Use a stick blender to puree into a chunky salsa and transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Remove steak from marinade and grill on hottest part of grill, turning as needed, and, using a brush, baste occasionally with reserved marinade until charred in spots and cooked to desired doneness, 10-12 minutes for medium rare.
- Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest 10 minutes. Slice steak thinly on the bias; serve with salsa and warmed tortillas, for wrapping, if you like.