Grilled Steak Tacos With Blue Cheese and Baby Arugula

Summer sizzle on the grill.

Nothing says summer like steak sizzling on the grill. And nothing helps a notoriously tough—but flavorful—skirt steak like the right marinade.

Marinades are generally designed to tenderize meat, but in reality, culinary acids such as wine, vinegar, beer and citrus do not tenderize meat through and through. However, actinidain (or actinidin), an enzyme found in fruits such as kiwi and papaya, does break down the fiber of meat. The kiwi in this marinade makes for a tender and unusually flavored steak.

Steak and caramelized onions go great with sharp and creamy blue cheese, as well as with the leafy crunch of bitter arugula. A simple mayonnaise-based chipotle sauce adds an elegant kick. And the whole ensemble gets a refreshing finish with mango salsa.

Ingredients & Steps

Serves 6: 12 medium soft flour tortillas—2 each

The Steak

1 cup kiwi, peeled and chopped (2 or 3 kiwi)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
6 sprigs cilantro
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Juice of one lime
3 pounds skirt or flank steak, trimmed of most fat
Oil for grilling

Place the kiwi, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, Worcestershire sauce, ground pepper and lime juice in a blender and puree. Marinate the skirt steaks for 2 hours in the marinade.

The Onions

4 large onions
3 tablespoons butter
5 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon salt

Slice the onions in half vertically, then cut horizontally into thin slices. Place the onions in a wide, shallow pot with the butter, thyme and salt, and cook over low heat for at least 30 minutes, stirring constantly.

Use a little water or beer to loosen any scorched or browned onions from the bottom of the pan, and stir them into the cooking onions. Do not rush this process! The onions are done when they are uniformly coffee brown.

Mango Salsa

2 mangos, peeled and diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 sprigs cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
½ red bell pepper, seeded
    and diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients about an hour before serving.

Chipotle Mayonnaise

1 cup commercial mayonnaise
3 chipotle chilies, seeded
2 cloves garlic
4 cornichon pickles
1 teaspoon capers
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until very fine.

Time to Grill

After 2 hours, preheat a gas grill to a very high temperature, or prepare coals if using a charcoal grill.

Brush off most of the marinade, season the steaks well with salt, lubricate the hot bars of the grill with oil, and sear the steaks for 1 minute on each side, getting good grill marks on both sides. Use beer or water to manage flair-ups.

Turn the grill to its lowest setting and close the lid, cooking the steaks for another 5 minutes, or until done to your liking. (If using a charcoal grill, move the meat away from the hottest spot, and cover the grill.)       

Allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.


Set aside ½ pound arugula, rinsed and trimmed of excessive stems and ½ pound blue cheese, crumbled.

Assemble Tacos

Slice skirt steak against the grain into ¼-inch strips. Divide the meat evenly among the tortillas. Top with caramelized onions, fresh arugula and crumbled blue cheese. Place two open-faced tacos on each plate, and fold to eat. Serve with mango salsa.

Last Touch

Use a small-diameter squeeze bottle to drizzle the mayonnaise decoratively on top of the tacos (alternately, drizzle with a spoon).

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