Step out of your comfort zone with fresh Steak Aguachile Verde. Rare steak served with a citrus marinade, flavoring and tenderizing the meat. This bold dish is packed with summer flavors that will wake up your tastebuds. Grab a fork, chopsticks, or tostadas and dig in.
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Beefy spin on a classic
I’ve become addicted to eating aguachile. Fresh flavors with quick prep make this style of food the ultimate, lazy summer meal. The simplest way to describe aguachile would be that it’s a dish similar to ceviche, but it has a marinade for the meat and is typically served right away. Seafood is usually used, such as scallops or shrimp. There are many different kinds of marinades, the most common is aguachile verde (green chile water).
Beef is not the obvious choice for aguachile verde. This was a tricky one to pull off, and I admit to having quite a few failed attempts. Ultimately the goal here was to have extremely rare beef take on the bold flavors of the chile marinade.
After trying a few methods, I looked to Japan. There’s a famous dish called beef tataki which uses the principle of searing the beef quickly, allowing you to have a nice contrast between the crust and the tender inside. It’s dressed with a ponzu sauce and served immediately. The main difference between tataki and aguachile is that the ponzu sauce does not continue to cook the beef. You would need extremely high quality beef to enjoy tataki as it’s mean to be served.
Quality and cut of steak
We’re not serving this steak rare, or raw. It will be seared to rare and then gently cooked a few steps further with the high-acid marinade. Tender, juicy, and still just as beefy.
Types of steak I would recommend would be anything that’s not too thin, tougher, and too marbled. Top recommendations would be:
- Top Sirloin
- NY Strip
- Filet or Beef Tenderloin
Ribeye steak would need to be well-marbled, and of higher quality than average. Thick bands of fat would not render down properly during the process, so I would recommend a well-trimmed NY Strip as a second choice for fat content.
Pictured above are 2 Butcher’s Cut NY Strips from Omaha Steaks. These are their thicker cuts, about 25% thicker than typical NY Strip steaks. Expertly trimmed, the fat is minimal but well-marbled, providing a great balance of fat and lean meat.
The Quick Process
Let’s break down the extremely quick process. In 20 minutes you’ll be ready to eat. The hardest part is chopping the veggies for plating, which will probably take you a few minutes.
- Season the steak. Salt and pepper, letting the steaks hang out to room temp for 15 minutes.
- Prep the veggies. You’ll want to chop the onions and radishes for garnish, set those aside.
- Make the marinade. This is as easy and throwing the veggies and liquids in a blender. Mix the liquid until it’s completely blended, so there are no chunks. It should be dark and cloudy from the cilantro and soy.
- Sear the steak. I recommend keeping it simple with a cast-iron skillet or a flat top. Cook for 2 minutes per side, searing the sides and ends as well. You want the cooking surface to be ripping hot, to the point of almost smoking, so it creates a delicious crust.
- Rest the steak for a few minutes. Cook the steak until about 115˚F and allow it to rest. Yes, that low. It will continue to cook for a few minutes during resting and we want it to be very rare for this dish.
- Plate the dish. Onions, steak, and then the toppings. Pour the marinade over the steak and allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes. The acid will cook the steak a little further, and soften the onions underneath.
Rare is the key
This steak aguachile verde is the first, and only, rare steak recipe on Chiles and Smoke. Generally, I’m a medium-rare kind of man, but for this recipe, it’s extremely important to keep it undercooked.
The extremely potent marinade will be absorbed into the steak, also tenderizing it and cooking it further. Testing the recipe with medium-rare, and medium steaks with varying times of marinating produced tough, chewy steak. Leaving the steak rare, in the style of beef tataki, was the best result.
The aguachile verde is quite strong, pulling in some influence from the tataki recipe. Traditionally, tataki uses ponzu. Replacing it with orange juice and lime juice, the marinade uses the flavors of aguachile verde. A touch of soy sauce brings salt and umami to the table, tying in the beef to the citrus as well.
How do I eat this?
Aguachile is served similar to ceviche, with chips or tostadas. Paying homage to my Japanese influence, we served ours with chopsticks. Don’t stress, whether you’re eating with crispy corn shells or popping it straight into your mouth, this steak aguachile verde is going to blow your tastebuds up. In a good way. Promise.
- 2 Butcher’s Cut NY Strips
- Salt and pepper
- 2 serrano chiles, seeded and diced
- 2 garlic, grated
- 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- Juice of 2 large limes
- 4 tbsp orange juice
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 small red onion, sliced paper thin
- 2 radishes, sliced thin
- 4 scallions, greens diced thin
- Season and prep the steak. Season each side with a mix of salt and pepper. Allow the steaks to rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
- Prepare the marinade. Add the serranos, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, and soy to a blender. Blend on high until completely mixed (no chunks). Strain if needed. Season and adjust.
- Sear the steaks. Turn your flat top or cast iron skillet to high heat, to the point where it’s starting to smoke. Sear for 1-2 minutes on each side, flipping as needed to sear all sides and ends. Continue to flip frequently, building a crust on the outside without cooking any side for too long. Remove the steaks when they reach 115˚F and allow them to rest.
- Prepare the garnish. Slice the onions and radishes.
- The steak should be closer to room temp after about 15 minutes. Slice against the grain into thin slices, about 1/8″ or less.
- Plate the dish. Arrange the red onions on the bottom of the plate. Top with the steak and pour the marinade all over. Add the green onions and radishes. Allow the steak to rest in the marinade for 5-10 minutes and eat immediately.
These portions would serve up 2 plates as shown in the recipe. Halve the recipe if you’re serving just 1 plate.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 10
- Category: Beef
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Mexican Food
Keywords: aguachile, beef, rare, steak, tataki, mexican food, marinade, chiles