Recipe Source: Bon Appetit, June 2000 issue: "Grilled Tri-Tip Roast with Tequila Marinade and Cherry Tomato Relish." Also available on Epicurious.com here.
I 'm looking at the date on this recipe in kind of a mix of shock, awe and horror. I made this recipe for my husband a very long time ago, and I knew that it had been a very long time ago but I don't think that I had realized just how long ago it was. We were still just dating at this time, although we'd been friends for years first. I hadn't made this in a very long time, but I think it must have made quite the impression on my husband. When I came back from my music retreat, I asked him what he wanted for dinner. He thought about it for a moment and said, "That tequila-marinated steak you made me." Well, it certainly was a good steak, no doubt about that! It took some doing to figure out which issue of the magazine it was in, but it was worth it.
I did make a few changes to the recipe. First, I didn't want a "grilled roast" eight years ago, and I didn't want a "grilled roast" this time around either. I wanted a steak! Therefore, I picked up a boneless sirloin that worked quite well. This obviously changed the cooking time. We didn't have a Big Green Egg back in the day, and we didn't really use the "smoke" feature this time either, but the wood charcoal really lent a much earthier taste and texture to this dish. While I used quite a bit less beef than the original called for (1.5 lb vs. 4!) I kept the marinade amounts the same because I wanted to make a sauce from the remaining marinade (another innovation from the original.) I also used the original quantity for the relish, because Tomatoes Are Good For You, although I dramatically decreased the amount of oil because we just don't need that. I increased the amount of preserved jalapenos with some of the pickling sauce to make up for the lower liquid volume. The result was fantastic! While my husband was hesitant about the need for the sauce, once he tasted it he agreed that it really added something special to the dish. If beef isn't your thing, or if you happen to have a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes, you can certainly make the relish on its own and treat it like a tomato salad. With regards to the marinade, using a premium tequila would be kind of a waste. I stuck with the standard brand.
I do want to make one observation about the cost per serving, which probably looks more than a little high. Steak is generally a little more expensive than roasting beef, and my supermarket is a little more expensive than others in the area. A large part of the cost per serving is also the result of the tomatoes I used. Since cherry tomatoes aren't really in season yet here anyway, I decided to splurge and get some hoity-toity, "gourmet variety" packs of tomatoes. I thought that it would add flavor and visual interest, and I was right, but it was more expensive than plain old red cherry tomatoes. You can almost certainly reduce your cost per serving by using less expensive steaks and using normal tomatoes.
Tequila-Marinated Steak with Tomato Relish (serves 2; approx. $13.19/serving)
1 large boneless sirloin steak (approx. 1.5 lb; this looks like a lot but it shrinks a bit during cooking)
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tequila
7 tablespoons minced jarred garlic
Grated peel of one lime
2 tablespoons cumin powder
2 tablespoons oregano
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapenos, plus pickling juice
4 scallions, chopped
2 lb halved cherry tomatoes
- Plastic zip-top bag
- Small saucepan
- Small sieve
- Grill or barbeque (you could also do this indoors under a broiler if you must)
- At least two hours before serving, make the marinade. Whisk together the lime juice, cilantro, first 1/2 cup oil, soy sauce, tequila, garlic, lime peel, cumin and oregano.
- Place your steak in the plastic bag. Pour the marinade over it, seal, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can go as long as 8 hours; the longer it marinates the better the meal will be.
- Make the relish. Mix the vinegar, 4 teaspoons oregano, 1/4 cup olive oil, jalapenos, scallions and tomatoes in a large bowl and let stand until ready to serve.
- When you are ready to cook, remove the steak from the marinade and let it come up to room temperature. Reserve the marinade.
- Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Grill the steak for approximately 10 minutes or until your desired doneness level.
- In the meantime, bring the reserved marinade to a boil in the saucepan. Reduce by about half.
- Strain the marinade into a small serving bowl or gravy boat, pressing the solids with a wooden spoon to extract maximum flavor and juice. Discard the solids.
- Plate the steak and serve with the relish and the sauce.