1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup red wine (I used a Spanish tempranillo in keeping with the theme of the dish)
1 medium red onion, sliced*
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small Spanish or Vidalia onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 6 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (fresh are best when in season; canned are fine in the winter!)
2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1 slice paesano or other hearty country bread, crusts removed and cubed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon a pinch of kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, sliced into 4 pieces
*Instead of slicing the red onion into rings, I chop off the ends, then halve the onion lengthwise and cut along the same lengthwise grain, creating wafer-thin slices that are uniform in length.
In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup sugar and the red wine to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the red onion, cover, and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, strain out the wine, and return the onions to the stovetop. Add the red wine vinegar and the other 1/2 cup sugar and simmer until the liquid thickens to a syrupy consistency, about 8 minutes.
In a medium skillet, saute the minced onion in olive oil over moderately high heat until softened but not caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, peppers and tomatoes, and cook 5 minutes more or until the garlic is softened. Stir in the sherry vinegar and remove from heat.
In a food processor, pulse the almonds and bread cubes to make chunky crumbs. Add the hot vegetable mixture and puree. (Be mindful of the escaping steam.)
Preheat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan for at least 5 minutes over high heat.
Mince the garlic with a pinch of kosher salt, mashing the garlic into your cutting board with the flat blade of your knife as you chop to form a paste. In a casserole dish, whisk together the garlic paste, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, olive oil, cayenne, and cumin. Add the steaks and flip them a few times to fully coat. Transfer the steaks to the heated skillet (cook in two batches to avoid overcrowding) and sear about 2 minutes per side to achieve medium-rare doneness. Let the steaks rest off heat for 2 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.