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
- Rub the steaks with the lime juice and salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.