Oh, I have done the unthinkable. I have ruined a Silpat, melted its magic silicon mixture into a disintegrating screen of mesh. I thought I was being clever by not using parchment paper when blackening tomatoes and peppers for salsa (I’ve made that mistake before), but it turns out I was only being slightly less stupid.
But really, who knew Silpats have a temperature limit? I thought they were bombproof. Heatproof. Meltproof. I was wrong. I thought it was just scarred at first, just a little darker than it had been before, but when I went to clean it, the little fibers along the edge just rolled up and melted away in my hands. (Thank goodness I didn’t scrape it into the food.) I took an X-ray, just to see how broken it was on the side I’d begun to clean:
It’s broken. Goodbye, Silpat. (And also: can you recycle a Silpat? I guessed not.)
And yes, I touched my eyes after chopping the jalapeños. Again.
Grilled Chipotle Flank Steak with Broiled Salsa (PDF)
Recipe 224 of 365
I don’t have such a hot reputation with the broiler – I tend to forget how hot it gets and burn things, which is exactly why salsa is perfect thing for me to use it for. Here, tomatoes, tomatillos, and bell and jalapeño peppers are roasted to a blackened crisp, peeled, blended, then “fried” over high heat on the stovetop to create a thick, spicy slather for tender, chipotle-rubbed, grilled flank steak. Eat the steak and salsa alone, or pile both into tacos.
This is a great recipe to prepare ahead (you can make the salsa up to 3 days ahead and marinate the steak the morning of), and throw on the grill when guests arrive.
TIME: 45 minutes active time, mostly 4 hours before serving
MAKES: 4 servings
For the steak:
2 large chipotle chilies (from a can, the kind in adobo sauce), finely chopped
Juice of 1 large lime
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
For the salsa:
1/2 pound Roma tomatoes
3/4 pound tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
3 small jalapeño peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
About four hours before grilling, marinate the steak in the wet rub: Mix the chilies, lime juice, garlic, oil, cumin, salt, and chili powder in a small bowl until blended.
Rub the mixture on both sides of the flank steak, and refrigerate, covered, for 4 to 12 hours.
Make the salsa: Preheat the broiler on its highest setting. Place the tomatoes, tomatillos, and all peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 10 to 20 minutes (this will really depend on your broiler), turning occasionally, or until all sides of all the vegetables are completely blackened. (You may need to leave the bell pepper in a little longer than the other vegetables.) Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and seal with plastic wrap, and let sit at least 15 minutes, or until cool. (The steam generated by the vegetables will lift their skins off and make them easier to peel.)
Peel and seed peppers, peel tomatoes and tomatillos (but keep seeds), and transfer them all to the work bowl of a food processor, along with the garlic. Process until smooth.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil, then carefully pour in the salsa – it will splatter – and simmer, stirring, until the sauce darkens and thickens, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use (up to 3 days).
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill at medium-high heat, and grill the steak to desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes (this is a good time to reheat the salsa, if you want to serve it warm). Slice it across the grain, and serve with the salsa.