I’m coming off of a glorious beach vacation in my favorite San Diego community: Carlsbad. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my family spends a week on the Carlsbad beach every summer; drinking wine, playing in the surf, and spending time with family and friends. Due to poor timing (and my brother’s start of graduate school – yay!), we will not be going this summer. So I was more than thrilled to learn that my good friend – who shall be known as Malo from this point forth – has a family home on the beach in Carlsbad, just a 15 minute walk from where my family stays!
Malo graciously invited a group of our friends to stay at the beach house over this past holiday weekend. Many of our friends already had travel plans, so it ended up being a small group: Malo, GGD, J³, Whitey and myself. We spent our days lounging on the beach while sipping Rosé and taking breaks to boogie board in the surf and walk on the beach. We shipped down 18 bottles of wine for three days and four nights; a combination of light whites and Rosé for the beach, and Cab, Zin and Pinot to pair with dinners – all pulled from our individual collections. Some of my contributions included a 2007 Etude Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2010 Handley Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Malo’s father also provided 6 of his favorite red wines from his private collection, which he shared with us on Saturday evening when he and Malo’s mother conducted a special wine tasting! Also joining us that night was Whitey’s sister and brother-in-law and their adorable three-year-old daughter.
We planned out all the meals in advance so we wouldn’t be stuck with too many groceries, and I volunteered to make the meal for Saturday night. Inspired by the beautiful beach setting and as a way to appeal to a large group (including one pregnant woman and one pescatarian) I chose to prepare Surf and Turf tacos! Along with my spicy slaw and GGD’s avocado-mango salad, I grilled skirt steaks and shrimp (with a little help from Whitey’s brother-in-law). The steak marinade is a recipe that has been passed down to me by my mother, who got it from my father’s late co-worker, Poco. I wouldn’t eat skirt steak any other way! As for the shrimp, that was sort of an experiment but I must say they turned out very well!
- 8 fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 bags of frozen large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 32 shrimp), thawed
- 4-5 skewers for grilling
- 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños with the juice (about 2 small cans)
- 3/4 cup lime juice
- 3/4 cup worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 TB cumin
- 2 lb skirt steak
For the skirt steak, mix together first six ingredients and pour over steak in a sealed plastic container. Marinade at least over night and up to three days. Bring to room temperature about 45 minutes before grilling. Grill for about 4 minutes on each side, then let rest for a few minutes on a wooden cutting board. When ready to serve, cut against the grain on a diagonal and transfer slices of meat to a platter.
As for the shrimp, combine and whisk together the first six ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over shrimp into a plastic freezer bag and refrigerate for about an hour. Place shrimp on metal skewers and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until opaque. Transfer to a platter and serve.
This meal served nine hungry adults, and we didn’t have any leftovers (except for some slaw because I made way too much). Serve with corn tortillas and sides of cilantro, queso fresco, salsa, radish, and lime wedges. Yum!
Malo’s father served some delicious wines from Sonoma, Colombia Valley and Paso Robles, but the two that stood out to me particularly were the 2010 Sonoma County “Three Birds” Red Wine and the Force Majeure 2009 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Collaboration Series VI Red Blend. The Three Birds was full-bodied with soft, round fruit and earth tones; easy drinking but still enough body to stand up to a spicy steak. The Force Majeure, which was enjoyed after the meal, was silky while robust with sweet aromas and a lush mouthfeel. Both wines were spectacular, but maybe a bit too bold to pair with a meal like this. I would suggest serving the Surf-n-Turf with a selection of Albariño or Rosé for the shrimp, and Syrah or another Rhone blend for the steak. You could also pair with some bubbly, as it goes well with almost everything!
Special thanks to Malo and her parents for sharing their beautiful beachy home and some stellar wines! I can only hope to return your generosity some day… maybe at a vineyard house 🙂