In Spain in the springtime, there are large festivals celebrating calcotada, or fresh spring onions laid out on the grill,charred beyond recognition on the exterior but soft and delicious on the inside. In Mexico it appears they have a similar predilection, though instead of spreading romesco sauce on them, they will often simply add salt and lime juice.

Here…look at these onions…gorgeous! Next time I will halve the heads to assure they are cooked through.

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The skirt steak is marinated in a combination of corn oil, tequila, garlic, lime juice, and onion for about 30 minutes, no longer as it might make the meat a bit tougher than it needs to be.

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Then–onto the plancha, that cast iron grill I got at the Spanish Table.

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Cooking it indoors, I have just been told, is no longer an option. Grills are smokey mothers, and in our little house we need to close our doors to the hallway, open the front and back doors, and in addition to the overhead oven fan, we turn on a blower fan, as well.

Wifey do not like smoke inna house.

In any case, most of the meat cooked up pretty swell and I only needed to further cook up perhaps a handful of the pieces which were too thick to cook through to medium rare. That was the work of a minute (more smoke) and then these lovely spring onions were grilled while the meat took its 10 minute rest…and my wife retired to the front porch to escape the smoke.

Along with the lime and tequila marinated skirt steak I had prepared a very delightfully creamy peanut and arbol chile salsa (even with a bit of creamy peanut butter) which was a taste sensation for the ol’ buds in the mouth. Enough heat to let you know it’s there but not to kill any brain cells in the process. Angela took a micron’s worth of it to discern its flavor and agreed that it was sweet and smoky…but too hot for her tender ol’ self.

Here it is before it went into the food processor.

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Here are the dried arbol chile peppers which give this sauce its gumption.

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All in all, despite the smoke problem, a very successful meal. The meat was cooked nearly perfectly, the salsa was spot on, and we nary indulged in carbs much as I only heated up a few corn tortillas, eschewing the fried chips (much as we enjoy them–and they would be dastardly addict ing with the salsa de cacahuate y chile de arbol…oh, yesssss……

All recipes were adapted from Antojitos: Festive and Flavorful Mexican Small Plates from Ten Speed Press here in Berkeley.

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