My father marinated his skirt steak using bottled Italian dressing from the supermarket before grilling, and it was one of my favorite meals growing up (he also basted our turkey with ginger ale, which is less advised). As a young chef, I turned my nose up at the marinating technique, even though I always loved the outcome. It wasn’t until much later that I understood the wisdom, whether accidental or not: Salad dressing and marinades have the same fat, salt, and acid ratio, and besides that, if it tastes good, who cares how you get there?
- Season the steak with 1 teaspoon of salt and let sit out for 20 minutes to absorb. Put the potatoes, steak, and all the dressing ingredients in a ziplock bag, squeeze out all of the air, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours, flipping and gently massaging the bag every few hours to ensure an even coating.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the steak from the marinade and reserve for cooking. Dump the potatoes into a small, ovenproof pot with a tightly fitting lid, add 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil over a high flame for 5 minutes. Then leave the lid slightly ajar and place the pot in the oven to bake for 30 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times to ensure the potatoes are cooked evenly and soak up all of the marinade.
- After the potatoes have been cooking for 20 minutes or so, preheat a large, heavy-bottomed cast-iron pan over a high flame until scorching hot. Drizzle the pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, then carefully lower the steaks into the pan, away from yourself so as not to splatter hot oil in your direction. Do not mess with the steaks once you lower them in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, depending on how thick the steaks are and how cooked you prefer them, then remove to a warm holding place to rest while you finish the potatoes.
- Dump the hot potatoes and all of the unabsorbed marinade into a large bowl and mix the the herbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and red wine vinegar if necessary.
- Slice the steak and served with the marinated herb potatoes.
TASTE editor in chief Matt Rodbard and chef Daniel Holzman are friends. Matt has many food and home cooking questions. Daniel has many food and home cooking opinions. Their column is called 100 Food Questions for My Friend the Chef.