Short Ribs for Summer, Doused With Salsa

Short Ribs for Summer, Doused With Salsa

I don’t need to tell you this, but it’s extremely hot outside. It’s mid-July, and my apartment is a tiny sauna without any of the amenities that make a sauna good. I’d rather go swimming in the Gowanus Canal than stay at home braising a pot of short ribs.

If you can relate and are thinking, “I, too, will not be making short ribs until at least November,” I want you to know that this short rib recipe has “quick” in its name for a reason, and it’s not because you’re using an Instant Pot. These are seared short ribs, cooked just like steak.

And why not? Boneless short ribs, which are usually reserved for long-cooked, shredded, saucy preparations, are even better when they are summerfied, quickly seared until medium-rare and thinly sliced.

I love short ribs because they’re marbled with plenty of fat, which gives them an excellent meaty flavor — and, unlike other cuts fitting that same description (flank, skirt), they’re typically sold at a good thickness for searing. That means you can cook them to the perfect pink without the worry of overdone meat.

This dish can absolutely be done on the grill for your outdoor cooking pleasure, but the evenly flat surface of the short ribs lends itself to searing in a hot skillet (preferably cast iron), which gives you a deeply browned crust. You do have to slice them thinly, though, since we are skipping the long cook to tender town.

My favorite way to serve this dish is to scatter the slices of meat on a plate and cover them in an acidic mixture of raw scallions and tomatillos, with charred scallions and tomatillos served alongside. (Serving raw ingredients with their charred counterparts as two separate sauces is a move I pull often, and it’s especially good here.) I also like adding a sprinkle of whole cumin seed, crushed coriander or red-pepper flakes to the vegetables as they char in the leftover fat.

This recipe is really about the deeply seared meat, and the lime-dressed scallions and saucy tomatillos that top it, but you can go in a taco direction by serving it with a stack of warmed tortillas for scooping. Feel free to also put out dishes of lime wedges, every bottle of hot sauce you’re hoarding in the fridge and maybe also beer served over ice. It’s summer, after all.

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