Monday, October 4, 2010

Grilled Red-Chile Steak with Sweet Plantains, Red Onion, and Chipotle Salsa

Another great recipe from Rick Bayless.  This rub is fantastic.  We used it on the steak for this recipe, then a few nights later we sprinkled it over pan-fried potato wedges, and a few nights after that we sprinkled it over ground beef.  I'm sure you'll find many uses for it as well.

We have a charcoal grill, and since it would be a waste to use a bunch of coals to grill just one steak, we grilled two T-bone steaks, splitting one for this meal and saving the other one for lunches/dinners later in the week.

Plantains kind of look like bananas, and they really should be "black-ripe" for this recipe.  Think of a banana that is so black it's squishy - that's the color you want.  Except that bananas need to be thrown away (or quickly made into banana bread) when they get that ripe, but for plantains, it's just right, and they don't get squishy.  It just means they will be nice and sweet.  

If you go to the store and find only green plantains, you can still buy them, but you'll have to wait until they are ripe before you can make the recipe.  That's what we ended up doing, since our store didn't have any ripe ones.  Boy, was that an AGONIZING week!  Every day we'd get home, check the plantains, and be disappointed because they weren't quite ripe enough yet and we'd have to figure something else out for dinner.

Grilled Red-Chile Steak with Sweet Plantains, Red Onion and Chipotle Salsa
Serves 4

Notes: The first time we made this, we went to two stores and could not find ancho chile powder, so we bought a package of whole anchos and ground them up ourselves.  We have a small coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices only.  To remove color and odors between spices, grind up some white rice.

For the Garlicky Ancho Chile Rub:
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
1/3 cup ground ancho chile powder (available from national companies such as McCormick, Mexican groceries and internet sites).
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground black pepper
5 teaspoons salt

A 1 1/4 pound flank steak (or an equivalent weight of rib-eye, strip steak, chuck steak, or whatever else may be your favorite)
2 black-ripe plantains
Vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
About 1 cup of your favorite smoky chipotle salsa, for serving

Heat one side of a gas grill to medium-high heat.  Or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with white ash but still hot - move the coals to one side.  

Mix together all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl.  Spread a heavy coating on each side of the steak(s) - you will need 1-2 tablespoons to heavily coat a 1 1/4 pound steak.  Store the extra rub in the fridge. The only thing that will eventually spoil in the rub is the raw garlic, and even that will last a long time, so it should keep for several weeks at least.

Trim the ends off both the plantains, then split them in half lengthwise (don't peel them).  Drizzle the cut surfaces of both the onion and the plantains with the oil.  Lay the plantains cut side down onto the hot part of the grill.  Do the same with the onion.  Cook about 2-3 minutes, or until well browned, then flip and cook the other side.  Move the plantains and onion to the cooler part of the grill while you cook the steaks.

Lay the steak(s) on the grill, directly over the fire.  If using a very lean cut of meat, lightly spray with oil before grilling.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until nicely colored underneath, flip and cook on the other side until almost as done as you want it, 2-3 minutes more for medium-rare.  Move to the cooler part of the grill with the plantains and onion and let it gradually finish cooking for a few more minutes.

On a cutting board, peel the skins from the plaintains and chop into small pieces.  Chop the grilled onion as well.  Slice the steak into nice thin slices.

Serve it Rick's way:  Put the chopped plantains and onions into a bowl and toss with about 3 tablespoons of the chipotle salsa.  Divide the mixture among the four plates.  Lay the steak slices on top, and serve with more salsa.

Serve it Robyn's way:  I thought the salsa was pretty spicy, so I piled all the components onto my plate and put a dollop of salsa on the side to dip my fork into.  I liked the flavor of the smoky salsa A LOT, but I wanted to control how much I had with each bite.  :-)

1 comment:

  1. You made plantains!! Awesome! The plate presentation looks great. =)


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