Readers of our blog will know that we are both fans of The Store at Foveran, the quality of the meat produced on the farm is superb. You can therefore imagine our delight when Helen, their shop manager, contacted us over the summer and asked if we’d like to meet to discuss a small venture with them. Intrigued, we met with Helen towards the end of the summer and she put their idea to us, namely a challenge. Their idea was that they provide us with a more unusual cut of meat and we work up a recipe for their quarterly newsletter. We agreed straight away, nothing gets our creative juices flowing like a challenge.
First up for the Autumn newsletter is skirt steak. Skirt is a much underused and underrated cut of meat, but one which is gaining in popularity thanks to the increasing influence of barbecuing and outdoor cooking across the UK. The skirt comes from the same part of the cow as hanger steak, popular in South American barbecue and if you’re French you would call it Onglet.
Skirt is an inexpensive cut of beef and treated properly is seriously tasty. Firstly, ensure that any excess fat and sinew is trimmed off the meat. We like to cut the meat with the grain into 200g more manageable portions allowing the steak to fit better into the pan. It’s essential that the steak is cooked rare or medium rare (and we strongly recommend you use a meat thermometer), any more than that and the meat will toughen. We think this is best done quickly in a smoking hot pan, or even better on the barbecue. However if time is limited we assure you the frying pan works just fine! Once cooked allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Now this bits really important – when cutting skirt it is essential that you cut across the grain of the steak, thus cutting through the muscle and leaving you with a tender piece of meat. Cut with the grain and you’ll have a chewy piece of meat.
We wanted something tasty but also something that is quick to prepare, that way people are more likely to give it a try. Our tastes are very much driven by the seasons and given we were looking at this late Summer/early Autumn we came up with two recipes, one fresh and one warm and spicy, but both using the same basic method of cooking. Undecided we cooked up both and we still couldn’t decide which we liked best, so here you are – two very simple recipes. We encourage you to give this a try, we doubt you’ll be disappointed.