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Wednesday, January 26, 2005; Page F03


The extremely loose grain and ample marbling of skirt steak result in a chewy yet tender cut of meat that tastes robustly beefy. Skirt steak approximates the elusive French hangar steak in both flavor and texture. It is also the cut traditionally used to make fajitas.

Although the intense beef flavor of skirt steak really needs no embellishment, the meat's fibrous weave allows marinades to penetrate in a matter of minutes. The steak comes in long strips; each strip typically comprises a wide, thick portion that tapers off to a thin section. For maximum tenderness, cook the steak medium rare to medium and carve it across the grain into thin slices.

Skirt steak is available at many meat counters and can usually be special-ordered by stores that do not carry it on a regular basis.

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