Chef-owner Ben Berryhill
Red Drum Restaurant
Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Mexican food in the U.S. has gotten much more specialized, as chefs experiment with unusual chilies, regional cooking styles and native ingredients that were previously unavailable. Chef Berryhill, originally from Texas and a pioneer in modern Southwestern cuisine, goes in a bold direction with these steak tacos. The smoky salsa gets its flavor from chipotles and roasted pistachios.
Smoky Pistachio Chipotle Salsa
1/2 cup canned chipotle chilies in adobo, remove seeds and mince
8 ripe Roma tomatoes, remove stems and seeds
6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tbsp. minced cilantro
1 qt. water
2 tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup roasted pistachios, crushed to slightly break
Skirt Steak Marinade
1 mango, peeled and pitted
1 small red onion
3 garlic cloves
1 red jalapeno, remove stem and seeds
1 green jalapeno, remove stem and seeds
2 tomatoes, remove stem and seeds
1 rosemary sprig, remove stem
1 1/2 cups grape seed or vegetable oil
3 lb. skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 6 serving pieces
1/4 lb. butter, melted
2 tbsp. BBQ spice or rub
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Prepare smoky pistachio chipotle salsa: Combine all ingredients except pistachios in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, about 20 min. (Liquid should be reduced by one-third and tomato skins should be falling off.)
2. Set salsa aside to cool. Pour mixture into a blender. Puree until smooth. Stir in pistachios. Refrigerate until serving time.
3. Prepare marinade: In blender or food processor, combine mango, onion, garlic, jalapenos, tomatoes and rosemary; blend until smooth. Add oil; blend to incorporate.
4. Generously brush meat all over with marinade; roll up each piece into a cylinder. Arrange rolled steaks in a shallow pan; pour on remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.
5. About 30 minutes before cooking, remove meat from refrigerator. Preheat grill or broiler to very hot. Brush steaks with melted butter and season with BBQ spice, salt and pepper. Cook steaks just until seared, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
6. Transfer steak to a cutting board and allow to rest about 1 minute. Slice across the grain into diagonal strips. Serve hot, with warm flour tortillas and Smoked Pistachio Salsa.
Photo courtesy of American Pistachio Growers