Espetada-Style Grilled Garlic and Bay Beef Skewers | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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Espetada-Style Grilled Garlic and Bay Beef Skewers

45 minutes plus grill prep

Espetada-Style Grilled Garlic and Bay Beef Skewers

On the Portuguese island of Madeira, espetadas are made by threading chunks of beef onto fresh-cut branches of bay then cooking the skewers over the embers of a fire. The bay infuses the meat with its unique menthol notes while also releasing a heady aroma. To re-create espetada at home, we pulverize dried bay leaves in a spice grinder to make a seasoned salt, mix in garlic and olive oil, then use the mixture to season the meat before threading it onto metal skewers and grilling over charcoal or gas. Flat iron steak or beef sirloin tips offer the best combination of tender texture and rich flavor, but if you’re up for a splurge, beef tenderloin also is excellent. Though a bit unconventional, we add tomatoes to these beef skewers and also make a simple Madeira reduction to finish the dish. Seasoned with garlic and some of the bay salt, the glaze-like sauce bolsters the flavors on the beef.

4-6

Servings

Tip

Don’t use fresh bay leaves in place of dried; they won’t grind down into a fine powder. Also, don’t trim the beef; bits of fat—what the Portuguese call “the flower of the espetada”—help with charring and add rich flavor. Finally, don’t use top-shelf Madeira here; an inexpensive nonvintage bottle will do just fine.

45 minutes

plus grill prep

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