A Thin Beef Steak – “Sabanita”

Back in the day, there were two staple dishes always represented on the menu at good steak houses in Mexico: one was Carne asada a la Tampiqueña –  Tampico Style Grilled Steak, of which I have already talked about and posted a recipe, and the other was Sabanita de res – “Sheet-thin” Beef.  The latter is, by definition from its name, simply a good piece of beef steak, opened in butterfly fashion to make it very thin; the meat is then grilled, or fried in a skillet, really fast.  The meat retains its tenderness, and it is a very pleasant bite, especially when served with potatoes and the classic side vegetable, asparagus.  For the plate seen above, I put together a tip sirloin steak “sabanita”, with Mexican style asparagus and a side of pickled salad, from my recent posts.

Thin Beef Steak – Sabanita de res

Printable recipes:

Mexican Style Asparagus
Pickled Salad
Thin Beef Steak – Sabanita de res  

Ingredients (for one plate)

8 oz (225 g) Sirloin steak, about  ½ inch (1.25 cm) thick
Sides: Asparagus, potatoes, or other vegetables (for example, my Pickled Salad and Mexican Style Asparagus)

Start with a steak that is not too thick, about half an inch (1.25 cm) or thinner:

Press steak down gently with one hand, and slice the meat with a sharp knife horizontally at half of its thickness, starting on the rounder side of the steak, and cutting around the edge (photo below, left); continue advancing the knife towards the other side of the steak, rotating as needed (photo below, centre).  Unfold the top half of the steak as the knife moves to the edge, being careful not to separate the ends (photo below, right):

The finished butterfly cut results in a steak that is half the thickness, and double the surface area, of the original: 

There might be some ripple marks near the centre, from where the steak was unfolded, but they should become less noticeable after cooking.  Right before serving, heat up a griddle or a skillet, adding just a little oil, then place the steak on the hot surface, seasoning with salt and pepper, then pressing down with a spatula to keep the meat from buckling (photo below, left).  After one minute, flip and cook the other side for another minute (photo below, right):

Season with more salt and pepper, to taste, and serve immediately with side dishes, for example, as shown below, with Mexican style asparagus, and a side of pickled salad:

Eight ounces (225 g) is a very generous portion of steak, but since it is thin, the meat is very eater-friendly; however, sharing the one steak as my husband and I did, is also a good option.  The addition of stir-fried vegetables and pickled salad made the meal well-balanced, both nutritionally and gastronomically speaking; my husband gets bored of steamed asparagus very early in the season, but he loved the enhanced flavours and added spice of the stir-fry next to the steak, and labelled the whole meal as “a definite keeper”, his best seal of approval. 

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I am bringing my recipe to Full Plate Thursday #640 with Miz Helen @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #608, with Bev @ Eclectic Red BarnPam @ An Artful MomKatherine @ Katherine’s CornerAmber @ Follow the Yellow Brick HomeTheresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.

I am joining Fiesta Friday #484  with Angie @ Fiesta Friday.

I am sharing my recipe at What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up #419 with Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome.


7 thoughts on “A Thin Beef Steak – “Sabanita”

  1. This will be great if the quality of the meat is great. If you pat the steak dry with paper towels before searing, it will be easier to get a nice sear on it. Moisture blocks the browning reaction.


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