Pan-Seared Skirt Steak with Anchovies and Lime

by Cate on May 7, 2009

Pan Seared Skirt Steak
Growing up, every time we had a big family dinner, celebrated a holiday or had an antipasto platter on the table, I could count on one thing.  A small glass bowl with anchovies in it.  As the food would get passed around the table, I made sure to slide those furry little suckers down towards my Dad, for he was the one they were for.  My mom, sister and I were totally “no thank you” when it came to anchovies.

Years later, when I got married, I learned that The Husband had the same affinity for anchovies.  Is it a guy thing?  A Virgo thing?  No matter, the two of them could fight over them, just keep me out of it.  Blech.

Flash forward to just a few years ago, and I happened to catch an episode of Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals and she was making a spaghetti sauce that had anchovies in it.  I went to change the channel, but heard her urge viewers to try the recipe even if they didn’t like anchovies because once they’re heated, they melt and lose complete ickiness, leaving behind just a nice salty flavoring.  And you know I’m a total salt girl.  She was convincing enough that I trusted her and gave it a try.

And now, if you’re a fellow confirmed anchovy hater, I’m asking you to do the same.  Trust me. I understand all anchovy aversions.  Even though I will now cook with them, purely for their salty release, they still creep me out with their little yucky selves, but I promise you, once you get past the ick factor, they’ll melt and do their thing and your dish will be better for it.   And once you get past that, you can enjoy dishes like this Pan-Seared Skirt Steak with Anchovies and Lime.

A recipe from Jacques Pepin in an issue of Food and Wine magazine, this one delivers the goods.  It was inspired by a recipe from his Puerto Rican mother-in-law, and it is low on time and effort, but high on taste.  That’s my kind of equation.  This steak is so good that it borderlines OMG-worthiness.  And a Pepin recipe in 30 minutes?  I’m there.  I served it with my new favorite recipe for broccoli, and between me and the kids, it was just a memory shortly thereafter.

Packed with strong flavors, you’ll get a tender bite with an addicting taste, and a little bit of salty goodness via those stinky little suckers.  But I’m telling you … trust me.  This one is worth the leap.

Pan-Seared Skirt Steak with Anchovies and Lime

Recipe courtesy of Jacques Pepin, Food & Wine magazine

Four 6-ounce skirt steaks
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
One 2-ounce can anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained and minced
2 scallions, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup water


  1. Rub the steaks with the lime juice and salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the steaks and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until medium-rare, 4 minutes; transfer to plates and keep warm.
  3. Add the anchovies, scallions and garlic to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the water and simmer until the sauce has thickened, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, 30 seconds. Pour the sauce over the steaks and serve with lime wedges.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

The Sister In-Law May 7, 2009 at 6:32 am

I’m not a guy nor a Virgo and I love me some anchovies. I can eat them right out of the can. Now the b/f not so much. He hates them with a passion. Sounds like a quick after work dinner. I may give it a whirl next week.



Sarah Caron May 7, 2009 at 8:08 am

Well…I guess I could try anything once.

But that furry description … geesh. ::Shudder::

Sarah Carons last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Willing Spring Back


Cate May 7, 2009 at 8:29 am

The SIL – really? I think you might be officially the first girl who will eat them. :)

Sarah – if I could do it…


Kris #40 May 7, 2009 at 8:49 am

I eat anchovies (but only in Alexis Diner Greek Salad). I tried them, to be polite, when I was in high school and I was eating at someone’s house and they had them in a spinach salad.

Sounds good! Anything with lime is for me!

Kris #40s last blog post..1 May/365 – Litter Bug


Cathy May 7, 2009 at 9:15 am

SIL isn’t the first…I love them! Especially on pizza with cheese. We went for supper last month and they had a deconstructed cesar salad as a sampler – an anchovy wrapped in lettuce with a shaving of parmesan. I ate every one at the table – as my friends and husband watched me in disgust :)

Cathys last blog post..I want to go to Japan :(


Natasha - 5 Star Foodie May 7, 2009 at 11:16 am

I haven’t had a chance to really try anchovies since my husband is not a fan so I never make anything with them. Maybe i’ll make this for myself when he’s out of town :)

Natasha – 5 Star Foodies last blog post..Guilt-Free Chocolate Milkshake


Lisa May 7, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Believe it or not, I loved anchovies as a child. I have forgotten to add them to my cooking but I am glad you reminded me.


katie May 7, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Yeah, it’s a guy thing… mon mari had an anchovy pizza once that was so strong I had to eat at a different table. But, i use anchovy paste so I think I could take the plunge to do the real thing. mon mari would love it!


Magda May 7, 2009 at 4:11 pm

The mere mention of anchoves makes me quiver…and yes, I am a virgo. Skirt steak is my second favorite cut (behind rib eye) and I am not sure I would dare to mix the two. But if it comes with kudos from you- I do remember your reaction to anchoves and your wish for a ceasar salad without them – i might just give it a shot!


Lynda May 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm

This steak does look amazing, yes even delicious, and I can’t see the anchovies! So as long as I can’t see them, I could really chow down on this!
Thanks for visiting my blog!

Lyndas last blog post..Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes


Joanne May 9, 2009 at 11:02 am

I have an aversion to anchovies as well and definitely try to avoid using them at all costs (by which I mean I’ve never actually tried them or used them, they just look and sound gross). I made a puttanesca sauce a while ago that my family loved but my father claimed would have been better if I had included the anchovies as I was supposed to. The moral is: I will give them a shot, mostly because the steak looks SO good. And because I trust you. Implicitly.

Joannes last blog post..A Tale of Two Burgers


Kelly May 9, 2009 at 10:50 pm

You have made a believer out of me. This will be going on my “must try” list (as well as the broccoli recipe).

Kellys last blog post..chicken salad


Nate May 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Anchovies add great flavor to sauces. Just don’t over do it. Let them cook down until they disappear, and you’ll be left wondering where that wonderful flavor came from that you’ve been missing.

Nates last blog post..Pavlova Recipe


Jeff May 11, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I have jars of anchovies in my house but I never use them. In fact 90% of the time I remember I could have used them after the fact. Grrr…going to have to bookmark this one and give it a shot because I am a huge fan of all those flavors.

Jeffs last blog post..Pineapple marinated chicken with a shocking twist


distion December 9, 2009 at 4:34 am

i’ve never eaten the anchoves before, since listen to your advice for how to make it delicious, so i must have a try it tonight you will see what’s going on


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