Caribbean Grilled Steak

Grilling steaks can be the easiest or the most difficult thing depending upon how you go at it. The result can be a charred-burnt out piece of leather, or a raw, bleeding mess. The trick is to watch it carefully as it grills. The recipe given below is the Boricua way of grilling meat. That is, it uses all the herbs associated with Caribbean cuisine. Of course, you can add other spices as you desire. It's all in the taste buds.

The recipe can be termed a peppercorn steak, or as they say in fancy-dan argot, "au poivre." This consists of steak, normally filet mignon, cooked with cracked pepper, usually green peppercorns. In our cooking its black whole peppercorns.

Here we go again: in traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, we crush the spices in a mortar and pestle, to give it that extra zing. In you don't own or have a mortar, then substitute ground pepper and salt to taste along with 1 tablespoon oregano, add 1 teaspoon garlic powder---and you're set to go.

In terms of what meat to use, if you can afford filet mignon, go right ahead, and more power to you. Those of us who are less well-heeled can use other variety meats like strip steaks, cut about 1 1/2-inch thick. I use porterhouse steaks---believe it or not, I got them on sale.


4 porterhouse steaks,  1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds
3/4 cup whole peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teasppoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 cups beef broth
1 (3 1/2-ounce) jar capers, rinsed

1. In a mortar, crush peppercorns, garlic, oregano, and salt. Mix in olive oil and vinegar. Brush steaks on both sides with this mixture.
2. Place steaks on grill, cover with lid, and cook on each side 4-5 minutes or until desired doneness.
3. Melt butter in a skillet or fry pan. Add scallions and sauté about 1 minute. Add broth and capers, and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes. Serve over grilled steaks.
   Yield: 4 servings. 

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