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Dinner in 35 Minutes

Wednesday, January 26, 2005; Page F03

Skirt Steak With Caramelized Shallots

4 servings

This simple salt-and-pepper approach to steak mandates a cut of meat that is innately more flavorful than, say, tenderloin. Try skirt steak (see INGREDIENT, below). The caramelized shallots that are imbued with thyme transform the dish into something special. Serve with mashed potatoes and carrots.

Skirt Steak

Adapted from "Bouchon" by Thomas Keller with Susie Heller and Michael Ruhlman (Artisan, 2004):

Two 10-ounce skirt steaks (may substitute flank or sirloin steak)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons canola or mild olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced shallots, from about 8 large shallots (may substitute yellow or red onions cut into thin wedges)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, plus additional for garnish

Cut each steak into 2 pieces, cutting it where the thick portion turns to thin. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the steaks and sear, without moving them, for about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side is browned and the steak is cooked to the desired degree of doneness, 2 to 3 more minutes for medium-rare, depending on the thickness. (The thin cuts will be done sooner than the thick cuts.) Transfer the steak to a cutting board, cover with foil and set aside.

Return the skillet with the drippings to medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and thyme, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the shallots are golden but not crisped, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside to rest. If desired, sprinkle with additional thyme.

Slice the steak crosswise, against the grain, into thin strips and top with some of the shallots.

This recipe tested by Renee Schettler; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com.

Per serving: 343 calories, 32 gm protein, 7 gm carbohydrates, 20 gm fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 9 gm saturated fat, 92 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber

-- Renee Schettler

© 2005 The Washington Post Company