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Culinary SOS

El Torito Grille's Sabana Makes Good Use of the Less Tender Meat Cuts

March 31, 1988|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: At the El Torito Grille in Costa Mesa I had a fantastic dish called Sabana, a filet of beef served with an avocado relish and pot of black beans. They also serve a salad with vinaigrette and cilantro. Any chance of getting these recipes?


Dear Elaine: Sabana is a great way to use filet of beef or other less tender cuts of beef, such as the round steak suggested by El Torito Grille. You can also use lamb or poultry (turkey steaks work well). As a bonus, we are including the vinaigrette for the salad greens you may want to serve with the Sabana. You're on your own with the beans.


4 (7-ounce) portions top round, trimmed, or 1 1/2- to 2-pounds top round


Adobo Marinade

Cut top round in half horizontally. If using large piece of top round, cut into 4 portions. Trim, removing as much silver skin and grizzle as possible.

Brush each meat slice lightly with oil, then place between plastic wrap and pound evenly with flat side of meat mallet on both sides, to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Brush pounded steaks with Adobo Marinade, about 1/2-ounce on each side (marinade is thick and pasty), and place between 2 pieces wax paper to prevent sticking. Refrigerate until ready to grill. Grill or broil to desired degree of doneness, turning once. Makes 4 servings.

Adobo Marinade

2 guajillo chiles, seeded

Oil for frying

1 teaspoon garlic puree

6 tablespoons pineapple juice

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 cup adobo paste

Fry chiles briefly in small amount of oil. Remove and drain. Combine chiles, garlic, pineapple juice, vinegar, salt and pepper in blender container. Blend until smooth. Combine chile mixture with adobo paste in bowl, whisking to blend well. Refrigerate until ready to use.


2 cups oil

1/3 cup Sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Dash Dijon mustard

1 jalapeno pepper, stem removed, seeded and pureed

1/4 cup lime juice

Combine oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard, chile pepper puree and lime juice in blender container and process 4 to 5 minutes until fully incorporated. Pour into storage container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Dear SOS: When I was a Navy bride 38 years ago, I had a marvelous easy-to-make coconut macaroon pie recipe. During many household moves I somehow misplaced the recipe and although I've searched through a multitude of cookbooks, I've never found another one like it. Please help. You're my last hope.


Dear Glorya: Is this it? The recipe is from Louisa's Place, a restaurant in San Luis Obispo.


4 1/2 ounces butter

1 3/4 cups sugar

1/3 cup flour

7 egg yolks

2 cups shredded coconut

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/8 cups water

Pastry Crust

Beat butter and sugar until light. Add flour and blend well. Mix in yolks, coconut, vanilla, salt and water until blended. Do not overmix.

Pour into unbaked crust and bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool before cutting. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Pastry Crust

4 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 3/4 cups shortening

1 egg

1/4 cup cold water

1 teaspoon vinegar

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix together egg, water and vinegar and stir into flour mixture until smooth dough is formed.

Use as much dough as needed to fit into bottom of 9-inch pie plate (Use 1/2 dough for thick crust and 1/3 for thin crust. Reserve any remaining dough for future use). Crimp edges.

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