Rib Eye Aguachile


You know that moment when you come up with a BRILLIANT idea for a dinner party recipe, only to Google it 5 seconds later and learn that it not only exists, but it’s actually trendy? Sigh. My “brilliant” idea was to take aguachile (a seafood dish) and swap the surf for turf—in this case, rib eye. Turns out it’s currently all the rage in the northern states of Mexico. But instead of getting discouraged and ditching the idea, I dug in and did some research. And what I discovered was pretty cool.Let me back up a bit. Agua (water) chile (chile) is a dish that originated in Sinaloa: water, chiles, lime, and salt are blended together and poured over raw shrimp (or scallops) and topped with onions and cilantro before serving. In the past (like pre-Hispanic past, not like the 1970s) this method was used on meat, such as deer, cow, and bison. Back in the day, when the Sinaloenses preserved meat for the winter months, they would soften it back up before eating by soaking it in this same aguachile mixture and then make tacos. It wasn’t until later, thanks to the influence of Asian settlers, that seafood became a crucial part of their diet, and classic shrimp aguachile was born.So here we are, with a dish that you can now find in all the cool restaurants, who probably have no idea they’re returning to the recipe’s roots. But let me be clear—I’m not soaking jerky here! We're simply saucing a seared piece of well-marbled rib eye (still raw in the center) with a cold, spicy broth for a refreshing, hearty dish that demands a cold cerveza.So maybe I didn’t actually come up with a brand-new dish to wow my guests. But at least I had some interesting dinner conversation to share—and a delicious OG aguachile on top of that. Enjoy!

Photo: Jen Causey
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
4 (serving size: 3 oz. steak)


  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

  • 3 tablespoons, plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

  • 1 (1-pound) boneless rib-eye steak (1 1/3-inches thick)

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 1 (1/8 ounce) serrano chile, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 teaspoons), plus thin slices for serving

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1 medium-size ripe avocado, chopped (about 3/4 cup)


  1. Toss together onion, 2 tablespoons of the oil, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper in a medium bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

  2. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Season steak all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to skillet; swirl to coat. Add steak and cook, undisturbed, until a brown crust forms, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer steak to a cutting board, and let rest 10 minutes.

  3. While steak rests, stir together lime juice, orange juice, soy sauce, chopped serrano, garlic, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade.

  4. Slice steak against the grain; transfer to a baking dish and pour remaining marinade over steak. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

  5. Remove onions from pickling liquid. Remove steak from marinade, and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the reserved marinade. Garnish with pickled onions, avocado, and sliced serrano. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve with tostadas.

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