Pepper-Crusted Skirt Steak with Charred Leeks


Star chef Alex Guarnaschelli cooks juicy skirt steak with spices until a crust forms, then she spreads a mix of mustard and vinegar on the meat for a delicious tang. Slideshow:  More Steak Recipes 

Pepper-Crusted Skirt Steak with Charred Leaks
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 45 mins
4 to 6


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 teaspoons coarsely cracked coriander seeds

  • 2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black peppercorns

  • 2 teaspoons coarsely cracked white peppercorns

  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5-inch lengths

  • 4 medium leeks (2 1/2 pounds), white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and cleaned

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the coriander, all the peppercorns and the crushed red pepper and cook over moderately low heat for 1 minute. Scrape into a medium bowl and stir in the brown sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt. Rub the mixture all over the steak and transfer to a baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.

  2. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the leeks until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, transfer them cut side down to a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard with the vinegar.

  4. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat until smoking. Add half of the steak and cook over high heat, turning a few times, until lightly charred on the outside and medium-rare within, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a carving board, spread with the Dijon vinegar and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining steak and Dijon vinegar.

  5. Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in it. Add the leeks cut side down and cook over high heat until lightly charred on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with the lemon juice. Slice the steak against the grain and serve with the leeks.

Suggested Pairing

French Cabernet Franc.

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