Thursday, March 11, 2010
Carne Asada Fajitas with Two Day Marinade
Today's foodie lesson comes from Wikipedia, which had this to say about carne asada:
"Carne asada is a roasted beef dish, literally meaning "roasted meat." The dish mainly consists of pieces or thin cuts of beef (e.g. flank steak, skirt steak), sometimes marinated, sometimes lightly salted or rubbed with salt, pepper and/or spices, and then grilled. It can be eaten alone, with side dishes, chopped and eaten as tacos, or chopped and used as filler for tortas, burritos, etc. It is commonly accompanied with guacamole, salsa, beans, and grilled scallions and tortillas."
Thank you Wikipedia. That was fascinating. Now...let's eat.
Carne Asada Fajitas with Cilantro and Shredded Cheddar
* I prefer to let the meat marinate for 2 days. Nothing beats the flavor. In a pinch, overnight will do, but I'm not sure I'd bother with this recipe if I was shorter on time than that.
* You can sub the fennel seeds and oregano for ground coriander and paprika or any other spice you prefer or even toss in a small sprig of fresh rosemary.
3 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste from a tube (like Amore brand)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (feel free to double this, you daredevil you)
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 lb flank or skirt steak
1/2 a white onion, minced (optional)
shredded cheddar, feta or queso bianco
Mix all the marinade ingredients together well in a large ziploc. Add in the steak and flip it over in the marinade several times to make sure it's well-coated, then seal and refrigerate them preferably for TWO days (at least one, but really - make it two.)
Wrap a good mess of tortillas well in aluminum foil and place in a 225 oven to warm through while you grill the meat.
Remove the steak from the fridge 30 minutes before grilling.
Spray a stovetop grill pan with nonstick spray or rub with a paper towel dipped in peanut or vegetable oil, and put the pan on a burner over medium heat for two minutes or until the pan is hot (you shouldn't be able to hold your palm within an inch of it for more than 2 seconds.)
Remove the steaks from the marinade, removing excess marinade by holding the bag from the outside to scrape it off against the inside of the bag as you pull the steak out. Place them on the preheated pan and lower the heat slightly (you want your meat to cook through versus just branding it - or at least I do.) Sprinkle the exposed side of meat lightly with fresh cracked pepper and let cook for 5-7 minutes then carefully flip to the other side and cook another 5-7 minutes (5 on each if you want it on the rare side - up to 8 per side if you like it well done, though this can dry out a cut like skirt steak, so proceed with caution.)
Remove from the grill and let the steak rest for a good 5 minutes before slicing. Remember to cut them in slices against the grain - it produces a more tender final product.
Serve in warm tortillas with cilantro, cheese, and/or onion or whatever suits your fancy. Other good toppings could include sour cream, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes - etc.