Cube steak revelation: Cuban-style Bistec de Palomilla
photo from the NYT
I grew up eating cube steak, a cheap, thin cut of mechanically-tenderized beef. Calling it steak was a bit of a stretch, but it cooked up quickly for the Swiss steak dish that was a staple in my house: cube steak braised in tomatoes.
When we got cube steak for the first time in our Herondale meat CSA bags recently, I poked around for something different to do with the cut. This recipe from the Times caught my eye because of the flavor profile: lime, garlic and onion. Additionally, I hoped the quick marinade would further tenderize the meat.
This is basic weeknight fare, but definitely an improvement upon Swiss steak, in my opinion. Keep your eye on the meat and don’t overcook it.
Bistec de Palomilla, adapted from the New York Times
2 pounds cube steak, cut into 4 or 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Juice of 3 limes
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (optional)
1. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Put steaks, juice from 2 limes and garlic in a 1-gallon zip-top bag or in a shallow glass pan or plate. Marinate for at least an hour (I did mine overnight.)
2. When ready to cook, put oil and butter in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. When butter stops foaming, add onions and sauté until soft and just starting to turn color, about 5 minutes. Remove onions to a bowl, cover with foil and set aside.
3. Turn heat under pan to medium-high. Add steaks, being sure not to crowd the pan and adding a little more olive oil if needed. Cook about 2 minutes per side, flipping when juices come to surface. Remove to a platter or individual plates.
4. Add any leftover pan juices to onions, along with juice from remaining lime, and parsley. Top steaks with onions.
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