I never thought about it before moving to Israel, but different countries butcher animals in different ways. I’ve already talked about what a struggle it was to find brisket. Luckily in response to that post someone told me about Shiri. Then Arnaud from Chez Eugene told me about Shiri. I knew I had to get to Shiri.
Shiri is a butcher. But not just any butcher. He speaks English and knows American-style cuts. Immediately, skirt steak came to mind. Beth and I went to Shiri in the Old City and watched as he took a huge piece of cow and carved out long, flat pieces of skirt steak for each of us. Wrapped in butcher paper, we held them like we’d just won a prize. For the record, Shiri also makes a mean chicken sausage. And has some beautiful looking entrecote. But all that is for another day.
Today is all about skirt steak.
I wanted a recipe special enough for the occasion. The occasion just being obtaining skirt steak. I found this one and knew it was perfect. Beth had just brought me back whole, fresh sumac from Turkey. Pomegranates and pomegranate juice are ubiquitous here. And I happened to have a small bottle of Port I’d brought from the States. Donedeal.
Sumac is not something I’d encountered at home, but it’s huge in the Middle East. The red fruit is dried and ground and added for color and a pleasant sweet-tart flavor to mezze, cheese, salads, and just about anything else you can think of. Here it’s sold ground, but Beth brought me whole sumac to grind myself. It stays fresher longer this way.
The port-pomegranate reduction was a revelation. I am not kidding you when I tell you I licked the plate. Clean. The sauce was crack. CRACK. I want to put it on everything. It sounds like it will be sweet, but tart is a more apt description, rich and sultry and refined and comforting all at once.
I served it with zucchini thinly sliced lengthwise and tossed in a pan with butter and garlic. Also heaven.
Sumac Skirt Steak with Port-Pomegranate Reduction
Adapted from Gourmet
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sumac
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds skirt steak
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup ruby or tawny Port
Bring pomegranate juice, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over moderately high heat, then boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together sumac, pepper, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cut steak into pieces to fit in a large pan and pat dry. Sprinkle evenly with sumac mixture, then let stand about 10 minutes.
Heat large pan over high heat. Cook steaks, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Transfer steaks with any pan juices to a large plate and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes.
While steak stands, heat 1 tablespoon butter in the same pan over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then cook shallot, stirring occasionally, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add Port and simmer until reduced to a glaze, 2 to 3 minutes. Add meat juices accumulated on plate and bring to a simmer. Whisk in pomegranate reduction. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter until incorporated.
Holding knife at a 45-degree angle, thinly slice steak diagonally and serve with sauce.