“From the rolling hills and hollows in Appalachia to the flat salt marshes South Carolina to an urban farm in metro-Atlanta, the South has a strong tradition of good food and generous hospitality.”This is how Chef Virginia Willis begins her book “Secrets of the Southern Table. A Food Lovers Tour of the Global South.”
As a girl with southern roots (my mothers side of the family is deeply rooted in Kentucky and Tennessee) I am no stranger to fluffy buttermilk biscuits, chicken fried in lard in old cast-iron pans, saying “Yes Ma’am” and Yes Sir” to my elders, drinking tea on the porch and always having something sweet after supper on Sunday. Chef Willis shows that southern cuisine is so much more. Not only that, the people are more diverse and their stories are ones we all should all know. There is such a rich history of southern culture that lives beyond what I experienced as a child visiting relatives in the back hills of Kentucky. In “Secrets of the Southern Table” you’ll go on a journey that includes food for your stomach and food for your soul.
I met Chef Willis at a media lunch/book signing at Melissa’s Produce. She was so gracious and kind. She kept us laughing, sharing her funny stories and obviously delicious food from her cookbook too. The word “genuine” kept coming to my head as I listened to her speak.
One of the dishes we tasted at Melissa’s Produce was Garlic Rubbed Skirt Steak and Vidalia Onions with Peanut Romesco. Just a tiny taste of those delicious onions and I was hooked! Lucky for me, Chef Virginia Willis demonstrated how to make this masterpiece during her demo. Vidalia onions harvested from late April through mid-June are uniquely sweet onions that become sweeter cooked outside on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet. They are a perfect pairing to her tangy romesco sauce, served with a hearty, rich steak.
Garlic-Rubbed Skirt Steak and Vidalia Onions with Peanut Romesco
- August 7, 2018
- 4-6 Servings
- Print this
- !For the Steak
- 2 pounds skirt, hanger or flank steak
- 6 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with salt
- 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
- 2 or 3 large sweet onions, preferably Vidalia, sliced
- !For the Romesco sauce
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 2 garlic cloves, plus more for garnish
- 1 slice country white bread, toasted and crumbled
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Step 1
- Prepare the steak: using paper towels, pat the steak dry and place in a large bowl
- Step 2
- slather the garlic paste and olive oil all over meat, turning to coat. Add the onions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Step 3
- To make the romesco sauce, grind the peanuts in a food processor. Add the roasted peppers, tomato puree, garlic, bread, and paprika. Process into a paste. Add the vinegar and pulse to blend. With the motor running, gradually pour the oil through the feed tube in steady stream until the mixture thickens like mayonnaise. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper and then transfer to a serving bowl.
- Step 4
- When ready to grill the steak, scrape any excess garlic off the beef and discard. If using a charcoal grill, prepare the fire using about 6 pounds of charcoal and burn until the coals are completely covered with a thin coating of light gray ash, 20 to 30 minutes. Spread the coals evenly over the grill bottom, position the grill rack above the coals and heat until medium hot (when you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill surface for no longer than 3 or 4 seconds). If using a gas grill, turn all the burners to High, close the lid, and heat until about 500 degrees F, 10-15 minutes. If using a grill pan, heat the pan over medium hight heat.
- Step 5
- Grill the meat and onions over direct heat until char lines appear, the meat is done to taste and the onions are tender and charred, 3-5 minutes per side. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing the meat across the grain. Serve the steak and onions with romesco sauce on the side.
**Recipe taken directly from pages 118-120 of “Secrets of the Southern Table.”
It was such an honor to meet Chef Virginia Willis! I am excited to cook from her book, read her incredible stories of the farmers and food people of the South and immerse myself in the wonderfully gracious feeling of home.
If you would like to order ‘Secrets of the Southern Table’ for yourself, just follow this link: Chef Virginia Willis “Secrets of the Southern Table, A Food Lovers Tour of the Global South”
Enjoy my friends!