"Si no tienes las cebollas, olvidate!" If you don't have the onions, feghetaboutit!
I wish I could tell you that that was a quaint saying my abuelita used to tell me, but sadly, it's not. It just came to me as I was frying up my steak for dinner this evening. And it's really quite true-- if you toss the onion, garlic, citrus marinade, or mojo, you're missing the best part!!
This super simple and quick recipe comes from Cocina al Minuto, my current guide through Cuban culinary traditions. I have to admit that the hardest part about it is finding the correct cut of meat. Usually, most restaurants use palomilla, a thin cut that I have yet to find here in L.A. I'm sure I would have had better luck at the Mexican superstore, Vallarta, but all I could find at Ralph's was a top round steak. The recipe actually calls for a "center cut filet" but really I think Nitza means palomilla. My mom suggests using a carne asada or flap meat cut, which is much more readily available here. One of these days, I will make it to an actual butcher and grill them about these things. Promise.
Regardless or irregardless of which type of steak you choose, make sure it's pounded thin and don't over cook it... Which I may or may not have done with mine. Sigh.
Bistec a la Plancha
1. Cover 1 lb thin steak with 2-3 chopped garlic cloves, 1 sliced onion & the juice of a bitter orange. (I substituted 1 orange + 1 lime) Let the steak marinade for about an hour.
2. Grease a cast iron grill pan with butter or oil. Season steak with salt & pepper. Grill steak approximately 3-4 minutes a side. Allow steak to rest for 10 minutes.
3. While steak is chillin', sauté leftover marinade in the same pan until onions are soft and brown.
4. Pour pan sauce with onions over the steak and enjoy!!