This seared skirt steak with salsa is an easy, Brazilian-inspired meal of pan-seared steak that’s topped with a spicy tomato, onion, pepper, cilantro, and vinegar salsa.
You will love this easy dish and the vinaigrette, or “vinagrete,” as they say in Brazil, which includes some powerful healing ingredients, like pepper, onion, and cilantro. These ingredients help to remove heavy metals from the body, and provide a good source of fat with the medium-chain triglyceride (MCT or coconut) oil. The meat provides much-needed raw protein, if you leave it rare in the middle. Raw meat provides essential amino acids in their intact state, which makes them easily absorbable.–Vivica Menegaz
*What is Skirt Steak?
A long, thin cut with a visible grain, skirt steak is an unsung hero for red-meat lovers. Sliced from the diaphragm area, just under the ribs, it’s perfect for quick cooking. With big beefy flavor, it’s the steak most commonly used in fajitas. Sliced against the grain, skirt steak is tender and juicy after just a quick sear in a hot pan.
Seared Skirt Steak with Salsa
For the Brazilian salsa
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato finely chopped
- 1/2 serrano pepper finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic pressed
- 1 lime juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine white wine, or apple cider vinegar
Make the salsa
- In a medium bowl, mix the cilantro, onion, tomato, serrano pepper, garlic, lime juice, unrefined sea salt, black pepper, MCT or olive oil, and vinegar.
Make the skirt steak
- Place the meat on a plate and sprinkle with the coarse salt on both sides. Resist the temptation to rub the salt in—you’ll end up making the steak too salty. Let sit for 30 minutes, so it soaks up some of the salt and comes to room temperature.
- Heat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat, until very hot. Sear the steak on the grill pan until cooked to your desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare.
- Remove the steak from the grill pan and scrape off the excess salt. Place on a warm plate, cover, and let rest for about 10 minutes.
- Slice the steak in thin slices against the grain of the meat. Serve immediately with the salsa on the side.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Jump back and get out of town. This seared skirt steak with salsa is amazing. I mean, ah-MAH-zing. For us, it's the salsa. This alone deserves to be made in huge jars in kept in the fridge. The One always uses coconut oil in the salsa. It's a bitch to work in because coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but the flavor it lends is marvelously tropical. And as I write this, it just dawned on me: All you have to do is gently heat the coconut oil, let it sit a bit, then add it to the salsa ingredients. Duh.
We've made this with flank steak and London broil, in addition to skirt steak. This wasn't due to some great beef preference. To be honest, The One forgot what cut the recipe called for. Don't get old, kids.
You'll be tempted to think your pan's hot enough. I'm telling you now, it won't be. You cook the steak so little on both sides, you need the skillet hell-hot in order to get color and great caramelization on the outside. Otherwise, you're pouring that lovely salsa over gray meat.
Best of all, this is a meal we can prep during the nightly news at 6:30 and be sitting down to eat by 7:15. A true Weeknight Winner.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Delicious and easy—the perfect trip to South America without leaving home. I’ve never been to Brazil, but I have been to Argentina and Uruguay where the quintessential meal is just like this one—beef with a salsa, and this recipe is right on.
The chopping takes a little time, but after that it’s a breeze to finish. Follow the recipe’s timing and you’ll have a perfect medium-rare skirt steak. The sauce and the flavors all compliment each other beautifully.
I made roasted potatoes, broccoli, and paired it with a 2018 Garzon Tannat from Uruguay and was in dinner heaven. I can’t wait till the weather warms and I can make this on the grill.
The seared skirt steak is exquisite with the salsa and the dish is at once rich and bright. It’s a simple recipe, easy to assemble and prepare, and positively divine. I can’t wait to throw this together the next time I have company.
Although my skirt steak was only 1.41 lbs, it still took a solid 5 minutes per side on a very hot grill pan. I let it rest for 30 minutes and started dibble-dabbling into the salsa. I quickly fell in love and decided to make another batch for breakfast the next day.
I used olive oil, red wine vinegar, subbed 1/2 a jalapeño for the serrano peppers (I can’t find them where I live) and I used Portuguese salt cream for the steak.
This was such a delicious dish. The fresh salsa was so flavorful and added great flavor to the dish. I’m a salt and pepper person for steak, and I can say I didn’t miss the black pepper. I cooked our steak medium-rare, which was 4 minutes on each side.
My skirt steak was a little thicker than what I normally see, which is why it took longer than the recipe stated.
If you’re a red-meat lover like me, it’s difficult to pass up a perfectly seared skirt steak. After a long day of cleaning, I wanted something easy for dinner and this was just the ticket. A little prep, a little waiting over a nice glass of wine, and a quick cook. Voila, the perfect rare to medium-rare steak.
Making the salsa, which is very Brazilian feeling, in the dead of a northeast winter with bland tomatoes didn’t result in the most optimal flavor. In general, I found the salsa a bit lacking but can envision all sorts of alternatives. One that comes to mind is putting an Asian or Caribbean spin on it with a mango, red pepper, lime, shallot, cilantro salsa. Add a bed of salad and feel transported. Any leftover steak is wonderful as a sandwich, with a little arugula and horseradish mayo. Bottom line is I’ll use this method of cooking skirt steak going forward.
I loved the flavor of this seared skirt steak. Combined with the Brazilian salsa, it was a great bite. I used a cast iron pan that I let heat up for several minutes. By the time I added the steak, the pan was extremely hot and the meat was at the medium-rare stage in slightly under three minutes per side with a 10-minute covered rest.
The excess salt didn’t shake off, rather it needed to be scraped off. I had coconut oil on hand so I used that instead. The coconut oil introduced two problems. First, after I made the salsa and set it aside, the coconut oil solidified. So instead of a slightly chunky, sauce-like concoction, I had a chunky sauce with solid pieces of coconut oil floating in it. This required a few seconds in the microwave to reliquefy the oil before serving.
The flavor of the coconut oil was pretty dominant in the first several bites and didn’t seem to complement the steak. A few bites in and the distinct coconut flavor disappeared, and the combination worked perfectly. If I make this again, I’ll substitute either olive oil or canola oil in the salsa.
This Brazilian salsa is definitely the star of this dish. I could eat it as a salsa with chips. It was so bright and flavorful, and the red onions I used almost had a sweet note to them. I opted to use coconut oil, since that is what I had, and a Prosecco wine vinegar. I also used half of a jalapeño pepper instead of the serrano pepper to minimize the spice levels. It was terrific!
Searing a steak on the stovetop never quite has the same visual appeal to me as a steak with the fire-kissed char that’s produced by a grill. That is, of course, a personal preference.
I followed the directions as instructed for salting the steak and letting it sit for 30 minutes before putting it into the hot pan. I seared the steak 3 minutes on each side for a perfect medium-rare, and let it rest for 10 minutes. The steak sliced beautifully, and I drizzled the salsa over the top, and served it with roasted baby potatoes and steamed broccoli on the side.
Overall, this was an amazing dish. The steak and brightly flavored salsa worked beautifully together, and we’ll definitely do this again, but the next time we’ll be throwing the steak on the grill.
Skirt steak is one of my favorite things to grill, it has great beefy flavor and lends itself to a myriad of seasonings. The salsa in this recipe sends it to a 10. It’s a superb blend of fresh, sweet, herbal heat; no one ingredient overwhelms the others. I used one-half of a large jalapeño (no serranos in the market) and liked the amount of heat it brought.
One bite of the steak with the salsa and I was hooked. All of the flavors of the salsa popped and were perfectly balanced. The steak was delicious, and my husband even had a few slices. He prefers fish to beef so I made swordfish for him and he loved the sala on the swordfish.
Bright tomato, sweet onion, fresh cilantro, and just the right amount of jalapeño heat make this a salsa that could go on any number of dishes. Tacos, grilled chicken, you name it. This made a delicious Sunday night supper served with the Caesar roasted romaine.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This seared skirt steak is stand-alone delicious and so easy to prepare. The addictive salsa requires minimum knife skills and comes together in minutes. Make it while you’re waiting for the skirt steak to be seasoned by the salt and come to room temperature.
Paired with an avocado salad and roasted potatoes, it’s practically a perfect meal. The steak would also make a great taco or quesadilla filling.