Virginia Willis' Garlic-Rubbed Skirt Steak and Vidalia Onions with Peanut Romesco

slices of medium steak and roasted onions next to a dip sauce.

By: Chef Virginia Willis

1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Servings: 4



2 pounds skirt, hanger, or flank steak

6 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with salt

2 tablespoons pure olive oil

2 or 3 large sweet onions, preferably Vidalia, sliced

For the romesco sauce:

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers

1/2 cup tomato puree

2 garlic cloves, plus more for garnish

1 slice country white bread, toasted and crumbled

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/3 cup sherry vinegar

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Chef Virginia Willis cherishes the seasonal ingredients of the South. In her cookbook, Secrets of the Southern Table she explores dishes that celebrate those ingredients and their seasonality, like this recipe for Garlic-Rubbed Skirt Steak and Vidalia Onions with Peanut Romesco. The sweet, spring Vidalia onions come together beautifully with roasted peanuts in a Romesco sauce that perfectly complements the beefy flavor of grilled skirt steak.

To prepare the steak, using paper towels, pat the steak dry and place in a large bowl; slather the garlic paste and olive oil all over meat, turning to coat. Add the onions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

To make the romesco sauce, grind the peanuts in a food processor. Add the roasted peppers, tomato puree, garlic, bread, and paprika. Process into a paste. Add the vinegar and pulse to blend. With the motor running, gradually pour the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream until the mixture thickens like mayonnaise. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper and then transfer to a serving bowl.

When ready to grill the steak, scrape any excess garlic off the beef and discard. If using a charcoal grill, prepare the fire using about 6 pounds of charcoal and burn until the coals are completely covered with a thin coating of light gray ash, 20 to 30 minutes. Spread the coals evenly over the grill bottom, position the grill rack above the coals, and heat until medium-hot (when you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill surface for no longer than 3 or 4 seconds). If using a gas grill, turn all the burners to High, close the lid, and heat until about 500°F, 10 to 15 minutes. If using a grill pan, heat the pan over medium-high heat.

Grill the meat and onions over direct heat until char lines appear, the meat is done to taste, and the onions are tender and charred, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing the meat across the grain. Serve the steak and onions with the romesco sauce on the side.

GARLIC-RUBBED SKIRT STEAK AND VIDALIA ONIONS WITH PEANUT ROMESCO is excerpted from SECRETS OF THE SOUTHERN TABLE © 2018 by Virginia Willis. Photography © 2018 by Angie Mosier. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Virginia's cookbook is available for purchase at:

Nutrients Per serving

Calories from Fat435
Fat48 g
Saturated Fat14 g
Cholesterol 119 mg
Sodium515 mg
Carbohydrate8 g
Fiber2 g
Sugar1 g
Protein 47 g
Calcium31 mg
Iron6 mg

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