Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Grilled Skirt Steak With Spinach

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Serve 6

Skirt steak is a term commonly used to describe two separate cuts of beef. One type is cut from the flank and the other from the plate. Both flat steaks are long and fibrous, prized for their flavor in spite of their lack of natural tenderness. In cooking, the cuts can be used interchangeably for dishes calling for skirt steak or flank steak. The nickname skirt steak is often thought to have been based on the natural shape of the meat, which is normally about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and 18 inches (46 cm) long, which vaguely resembles the article of clothing called a skirt. Another theory suggests the name came from the four distinct skirt steak sections found in beef carcasses that hang beneath the heart and lungs. The latter definition also explains why the cut is referred to as hanger steak in some areas.


1 cup basil leaves, more for garnish

3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced, more for garnish

2 tablespoons lemon thyme leaves, more for garnish

2 fat garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped peperoncini (1 to 2 peppers), pickled jalapeño or other pickled peppers of choice

2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Juice of half a lemon

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 ½ pounds skirt steak



In a blender or food processor, combine basil, scallions, lemon thyme, garlic, peperoncini, salt and lemon zest and juice. Pour olive oil over mixture; blend until it turns to paste. Using paper towels pat steak dry and place in a large bowl; slather paste mixture all over meat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight. Light the grill or heat the broiler with the rack as close to the heat source as possible. Use a paper towel to pat steak dry. (You can leave some of the paste, but for the best sear, the meat should be dry when it hits the grill.) Grill meat over direct heat until char lines appear, and meat is done to taste, 3 to 5 minutes per side, or broil until charred, 2 to 5 minutes per side. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving, garnished with herbs and scallions.

Sautéed spinach with toasted pine nuts

Serves 8


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 pounds baby spinach

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 lemon

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted


Heat the oil and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic until golden, about 2 minutes. Add a quarter of the spinach, and cook just until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander; drain. Repeat with remaining oil, garlic, and spinach. Transfer spinach to a bowl. Adjust flavors salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon over spinach, and top with pine nuts.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking, School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog

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