BISTEC DE PALOMILLA
This is the quintessential Cuban beef dish. It is served—usually with white rice and Platanitos Maduros (Fried Sweet Plantains) or French fries and garnished with raw onions and parsley—at every Cuban restaurant, cafeteria, and hole-in-the-wall eatery. Typically, the cuts of beef used are a quarter-inch-thin top round or sirloin steaks, although you could start with a thicker cut of beef and just pound it thin with a meat mallet before cooking.
Bistec De Palomilla
• 1/4 cup sour orange juice, or a mixture of equal parts lime juice and orange juice
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 4 (6- to 8-ounce) sirloin or top round steaks, cut or pounded to 1/4-inch-thick
• Garlic powder (not garlic salt)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1/4 cup chopped parsley
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• Arroz Blanco (White Rice) for serving
Combine the orange juice and garlic in a small bowl.
Arrange the steaks in a shallow, nonreactive dish and pour the orange juice mixture over them. Marinate the steaks at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes — no longer or they will turn an unappealing grayish hue. Also, because the steaks are so thin, they won’t need any longer for the tanginess of the sour orange to penetrate them. Discard the marinade and season the steaks with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a cast iron pan until the oil is almost smoking. Carefully fry the steaks, one at a time, for about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the cooked steak to a plate and continue with the remaining steaks, letting the pan return to a high temperature after each steak. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan before frying the third and fourth steak.
Combine the onion, parsley, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Garnish each steak with the onion parsley mixture, and serve with white rice and Tostones (Fried Green Plantains).
Recipe from ¡SABOR! A PASSION FOR CUBAN CUISINE
by Ana Quincoces Rodriguez (Running Press