Sweet papaya and tart Ruby Red grapefruit juice tame the heat of the Scotch bonnet pepper in the marinade for the steak, while the vegetables for the accompanying jalapeño-laced salsa get charred on the fire along with the meat. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2013 issue along with Domingo Martinez's article Grilling at the Border.
- 1 cup roughly chopped papaya
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, stemmed
- Juice of 1 large Ruby Red grapefruit
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1⁄2 lb. beef skirt steak, trimmed
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 jalapeño peppers, stemmed
- 4 plum tomatoes, cored
- 1 small white onion, cut in half crosswise
- 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- Juice of 1 lime
- Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving (optional)
Purée papaya and half the oil, plus Scotch bonnet, grapefruit juice, salt, and pepper in a blender into a smooth marinade. Pour ⅔ marinade into a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Add steak and seal bag; set aside to marinate for 30-45 minutes but no longer. Reserve remaining marinade.
Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner off on one side. Grill garlic, jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions on hottest part of grill, turning as needed, until charred in spots and tender, 1-2 minutes for garlic, 4-6 minutes for jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions. Allow vegetables to cool slightly. Peel jalapeños and transfer to a blender along with garlic, tomatoes, and onions. Add remaining oil, plus cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse into a chunky salsa and transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove steak from marinade and grill on hottest part of grill, turning as needed, and, using a brush, baste occasionally with reserved marinade until charred in spots and cooked to desired doneness, 10-12 minutes for medium rare. Let steak rest 10 minutes. Slice steak thinly on the bias; serve with salsa and warmed tortillas, for wrapping, if you like.