The debut cookbook from Top Chef season 15 runner-up Adrienne Cheatham is an expression of her style of cooking where she likes to take Southern and Soul Food classics and dresses them up a bit. In Sunday Best she features 100 recipes drawing on her upbringing and years in outstanding restaurants like Le Bernardin and Red Rooster. Just in time for summer, she’s sharing her recipe for grilled skirt steak and how to make a chimichurri that you’ll want to put on everything that comes off your grill this season.
Whenever my dad took us to the diner on Sundays, I always ordered steak and eggs. That’s when I fell in love with skirt as a cut. It’s not overly lean, which means it stays juicy no matter how hard you sear it and has enough fat to coat your mouth. That fattiness plays really well with Argentinean-style chimichurri, a type of acidic, bright pesto with lots of fresh herbs. Although, of course, I had to add in mustard greens for a bit of Southern flair!
Grilled Skirt Steak with Mustard-Green Chimichurri
- 0.25 c. plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 0.5 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 0.5 tsp onion powder
- 1 (2.5 lb.) skirt steak
- 0.5 c. mustard green
- Chimichurri (recipe below), for serving
Pour 0.25 c. of oil into a small bowl and grate in the garlic using a Microplane. Add the salt, pepper, and onion powder and stir to thoroughly combine.
Place the skirt steak on a tray or in a large bowl and rub the oil mixture all over. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
When you’re ready to get cooking, remove the steak from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for five to 10 minutes.
Prepare a grill for high heat or heat a large grill pan over high heat. Drizzle a paper towel with the remaining 1 tbsp. oil and use the towel to oil the grates. Lay the steak crosswise over the grates and cook until grill marks develop, 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side until you have nice dark grill marks, another 3 to 4 minutes. This should result in medium rare meat, so cook a minute or so longer if you prefer. Transfer the steak to a serving platter and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes before slicing on an angle across the grain into thinnish slices.
Serve immediately with the chimichurri.
Chimichurri—a kind of Argentinean pesto traditionally made from chopped parsley, red wine vinegar, and plenty of garlic—is another one of those workhorse condiments. It’s particularly good friends with grilled meat, cutting through the fat by adding a bright herbal flavor and a touch of acidity. Those qualities are equally welcome when drizzled atop avocado toast, folded into eggs, or stirred into a pot of soup or beans.
Yet as much as I love it, I’ve always found chimichurri a little lacking in the spice department. And I don’t just mean heat (although the Fresno chile I’ve included in this recipe is great for that). There’s a certain vibrant pepperiness I’ve long thought it could benefit from, and experimentation led me to this winning combination, featuring naturally piquant mustard greens. They have a wasabi-esque back note that packs heat as well as flavor. You may just find that your steak plays second fiddle to your sauce!
- 0.5 bunch (about 0.5 lb.) mustard greens
- 6 sprigs of cilantro
- 0.5 shallot, minced
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced (see Pro Tip)
- 0.67 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Fresno or any small, moderately spicy red chile, minced
- Zest of 1 lime
- 0.33 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 heavy pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Rinse and dry the mustard greens and cilantro. Remove the thick bottom stems from the mustard greens. Roughly chop the cilantro (stems and leaves) and the mustard greens together, then place them in a food processor with the minced shallot and garlic.
Pulse the ingredients a couple of times to combine, then add the oil, chile, and lime zest and process for 2 or 3 seconds.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture into a bowl. Whisk in the vinegar, salt, and black pepper.
Let the chimichurri sit for at least 10 minutes before using. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
LEVEL UP: Add a wow factor to even the simplest steamed fish, baked chicken breast, roast pork tenderloin, or grilled steak by spooning chimichurri on top. Or make a whole roast chicken and baste it with chimichurri when the skin gets crispy. This is also an awesome condiment for grain bowls and lends an herbaceous element to dishes like the grilled skirt steak.
PRO TIP: Use a Microplane whenever minced garlic is called for. It saves time and keeps your hands from smelling for the rest of the day.
Reprinted from Sunday Best. Copyright © 2022 Adrienne Cheatham with Sarah Zorn. Photographs copyright © 2022 Kelly Marshall. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.