“Onions Etcetera” by Kate Winslow and Guy Ambrosino: Bistec Palomillo

Best cookbooks of 2017

“Onions Etcetera: The Essential Allium Cookbook” by Kate Winslow and Guy Ambrosino

You can get to know everything you want to know about alliums from this one book. It’s comprehensive but not complicated. While it gives a nod to the year-round staples — yellow, red and white onions — it also features scallions in sesame pancakes, chives in pasta dough, leeks in a tart with feta and dill, pearl onions in a Greek beef stew, cipollini with duck and cherries and garlic scapes with fried rice. And an added bonus? Guy Ambrosino’s scrumptious photographs. Starting from the cover, each photo will make you fall in love with alliums.

Kate Winslow says: Bistec Palomillo can be done a whole day ahead. It needs to marinate, and on the day of, it all comes together in a flash. The onions should be cooked quickly so that they still have a bite to them; they should not be soft.

Hosting Thanksgiving: We have hosted Thanksgiving only a couple of times. We did it two years, and it was exhausting. We had 22 people over. We are happy to go somewhere else; it’s more relaxing that way. This year, we are going to Guy’s mom’s place, which is 45 minutes north of us in New Jersey..

Her contributions: I think creative dishes become traditional over time. I make an escarole salad that has fennel, pomegranate, red onions and some kind of citrus. I also make an apple pie with a Bizcochito [a lard-based cookie flavored with anise and brandy] crust.

Divvying up work with Guy: I do a lot of the cooking. I get territorial in the kitchen much to Guy’s dismay.

Grandma’s stuffing: My grandma made a stuffing with white bread, butter, celery, poultry seasoning, chicken broth and chopped yellow onions. It was always cooked inside the bird. I can see the steak and onions being served with the stuffing. It is unorthodox, but it can be done.

Pittsburgh memories: I grew up in Swissvale and went to Woodland Hills School District. On Thanksgiving Eve, my family had a longstanding tradition of driving Downtown to see the Christmas windows at Horne's and Gimbel's. Then we would stop at the Oyster House on Market Square and warm up with fried oysters.

Least favorite part of the holiday: Having grown up in Pittsburgh, it is a strange thing to say. But I hate football games, and they are generally on at our family holidays.

Bistec Palomillo

PG tested

It’s a Cuban dish, and is typically served with yellow rice and black beans.

2 pounds flatiron steak or beef skirt steak

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 large white onion, thinly sliced into rings

4 plump garlic cloves, minced

Freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon olive oil

Handful of cilantro leaves

Cut steak into 4 to 6 equal pieces and season with salt and pepper.

Place steak in a large resealable plastic bag. Add onions, garlic and lime juice. Seal bag, pressing out air. Squish everything together to coat steak. Place bag in a dish, refrigerate and marinate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Remove steaks from bag and reserve marinade. Scrape off garlic sticking to meat. Season meat again with salt and pepper.

Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat until nearly smoking. Swirl in oil. Add steaks and cook about 4 minutes per side for skirt steak and 6 to 7 minutes per side for flatiron steak, turning once for medium-rare.

Transfer steaks to a platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest.

Add reserved marinade, onions and garlic to skillet. Cook, stirring often, adding a tablespoon of water if pan gets dry, until onions are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Carve steak into thin slices. Serve with onions and sprinkle cilantro on top. Serve at once.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

— “Onions Etcetera: The Essential Allium Cookbook” by Kate Winslow and Guy Ambrosino (Burgess Lea Press; February 2017; $35)


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