Peppers. They’re astonishing. If I could cook with no other vegetable (I know, I know, technically they’re a fruit) it would be peppers. There are endless varieties, all gorgeous and good for you, and they bring such a vibrancy to whatever I’m making. They range from spicy to screaming hot, and from mild to sweet as candy. They come in every shape and color of the rainbow, and I can’t think any other food that offers such eye-popping colors. I love this time of year because our farmer’s markets are full of them, and these Steak Fajita Skewers give me a chance to show them off. I used only sweet bell peppers this time, but definitely intersperse any of your favorites in this true 30-minute meal.
I don’t own an outdoor grill, but I love grilled food, so over the years I’ve figured out a few techniques for getting that same great effect inside the kitchen. Sometimes I’ll use my grill pan on the stove top, but these wooden skewers were too long for it. Instead I arranged them on a baking sheet and popped them under the broiler. To get that really nice charring on the edges that we associate with outdoor grilling I have a trick. I set the skewers on the highest setting, closest to the broiler element, until the meat is just cooked. Then I place a muffin tin on the rack, and put the skewers on top of that to get them really close to the flame. You will get a nice flame kissed effect, just be sure to watch it like a hawk, it doesn’t take but a minute.
You can put the skewers together ahead of time, which is fantastic, and makes this one of the fastest dinners around. I don’t even bother to marinate the meat because grilling brings out the natural flavor, and the sauce packs a powerful punch of citrus and cilantro. These skewers are a fun, festive, and healthy way to eat. Serve them on or off the skewer, with rice, couscous, or tortillas.
- 1 lb top sirloin steak
- 1 red onion
- several colorful bell peppers (you'll only need half of each)
- olive oil
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- a large handful of cilantro (well washed and de-stemmed)
- juice of 1 lemon
- splash of olive oil
- pinch of salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Trim any fat and cut the steak into bite sized cubes. Cut the peppers and onion into bite sized pieces as well.
- If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes so they will not burn under the broiler. Thread the meat, onions and peppers onto the skewers in any pattern you like. You can stretch out the meat by using more of the veggies. For meat lovers, go heavier on the steak.
- Lay out the skewers on a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the pan on the highest position under the broiler and broil on high until the meat and vegetables start to get good color. The time will depend what size you cut your meat. I cut mine truly bite sized, so mine took only 5 minutes. No need to turn the skewers.
- I like to get a good char on my skewers, but I don't want to over cook the steak, so when the steak is just cooked the way i like it I remove the pan, then put a muffin tin on the oven rack, and place the skewer pan on top of that. This gets the skewers right up next to the broiler flame and will finish off the skewers with perfect charring. This will take less than a minute, watch it carefully.
- Serve on or off the skewer, with rice, couscous, or tortillas. Drizzle with lots of cilantro pesto.
- To make the pesto: Fill the bowl of a small food processor with the cilantro, and pulse until reduced in bulk, scraping down the sides. Add the lemon juice and a splash of oil, and process until pureed. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Use the Cilantro Pesto as a dip, or drizzle it all over the skewers. And make lots of everything. Just a friendly suggestion.
We ate our skewers with couscous, which makes it a true 30 minute meal. They are cost effective, too, because you can stretch a pound or a pound of steak to feed four. Grilling cooks the steak perfectly while preserving the bright colors of the peppers. This is a concept Ive returned to again and again this summer, and it works with fish, chicken and meats of all kinds.