Skirt Steak with Haughty Green Beans

30th Oct 2006

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I had no idea.  Abby and I are staring at this picture of skirt steak with string beans with mouths agape, salivating over the chance to make this fine meal , when we notice that nowhere in the ingredients are those beans listed.  We double check, and then wonder what it was exactly that we were looking at.  All they they had was something called haricot verts.  "I'm not sure what that is," I blabbered out trying to figure out where on earth we were going to find such an exotic sounding item.  A quick internet search yielded this fine bit of knowledge: " Haricot Verts - The best Green Bean, the French Filet Bean, called the Haricot Verts in French, is served at fine restaurants."

Oh, how far skirt steak has come. Once given to the farmhands after the owners took the nice cuts of beef , skirt steak is now paired with French-ified words for green beans.  It is not the first food that was once relegated to the poor folks and now is served in the nicest of restaurants. Lobsters used to be so plentiful they were feed to prisoners because there were too many of them.  Unlike lobsters, skirt steak still has the aura of being a lesser cut of meat when it is anything but.  Though usually thought of as the meat for fajitas, its price can veer towards the $10 mark a pound, making rib-eye and sirloin start to sound like a bargain.

But thank Fairway Market in Red Hook for having skirt steak for a relative bargain of $5.99 a pound that made me forget about the haricots verts all together.

This particular recipe is really the combination of two wonderful looking recipes from Gourmet that focused on two aspects of the dish.   The first laid the steak atop those pretentious haricot verts, sauteed corn, with pesto sauce.  The other added a deep red wine sauce made from the drippings.

I cooked most of the ingredients in my cast iron skillet over very high heat, but I might have made things a little too hot.  Grilling would have also worked, but you would have forfeited your right to create one richly flavored sauce, which took this into a warranted pretentious spectrum.

Skirt Steak with Haughty Green Beans

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Serves 2

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ear corn
  • 1/2 pound of string beans (or haricots verts if you care that much)
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • salt and pepper

Adapted from Epicurious ( 1 , 2 )

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the string beans.


Cut off the kernels from the ear of corn.

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Pour 1/2 a tablespoon of olive in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat.  Just make sure no smoke begins to show.  Saute the kernels for 2 minutes, mixing them around every 15 seconds or so.  Be careful, though.  Much like popcorn, these kernels will start to jump right out of the pan.  I'd suggest placing a top on all of this to keep things in check.  Saute until they begin to darken, then remove.

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Pat the steaks dry and then salt and pepper both sides.  Wipe the skillet clean and return to medium high heat.  Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into the pan and place the steaks in.  It will hiss and moan, but don't touch it for 3 minutes.  After the time flip the steak and let it sear for another 3 to 4 minutes.   Remove and set it aside and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Turn the heat in the pan down to medium.

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De-glaze the pan with the wine, and scrap the brown bits off the bottom with some tongs.  Then quickly put the bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar and mix together.  Let the sauce reduce by half.

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Toss in the butter and stir until it has melted into the sauce.  Then turn the heat to low.

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Dump the beans in the pot of boiling water.  Cook for 4 minutes then drain.

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Now, you can make your own pesto-- we have before .   But since pine nuts regularly run over 5 bucks, and Fairway makes theirs fresh in the store, we didn't feel too bad at settling for this.  In a large bowl combine the pesto, the string beans, and the corn and stir to combine.

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Slice the steak across the grain into about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch pieces.  Then place a little of the vegetables onto the plate, lay the steak across in whatever formation you see fit, and drizzle the red wine sauce over the steak.


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