Sunday, September 22, 2013
Classic Steak Fajitas
It's amazing how quickly summer turns to fall. We had been suffering under oppressive heat for weeks and now all of the sudden mornings are chilly. Luckily we haven't had a freeze yet and it looks like the frost might hold off for at least another week, which is a blessing considering how many tomatoes I still have on the vine; and what little time I have to pick them and do some actual gardening (which I've put off for about a month now). It's Lord of the Flies out there friends. A straight-up weedy tomato jungle with the random chile or eggplant fighting its way to get some sunlight.
I've been thinking about how there seems to be some gaping holes in this blog's repertoire. While I like the source of inspiration for blog-worthy recipes to be food we as a family eat and eat frequently, I've realized that the things we eat most often have not yet found a place on the blog. You will not find a recipe for guacamole, Spanish rice, or nachos here, nor any form of quesadilla, breakfast burrito, or picadillo—all things we eat on a regular basis. I guess I figured you all want to read about something a little more adventurous and aspiring but there is a reason we make these family favorites so often—because they are good, comforting, and easy. Therefore, I will be working to overcome these accidental omissions starting with one of my family's all time favorites: Steak Fajitas.
If you live near a Mexican market with a bona fide Mexican butcher inside then stop reading this, go to said market and and ask for some fajita meat. There among the beef tongue and tripe you will find huge piles of meat pounded into paper thin pieces and marinated in a delectable blend of chiles and spice all ready for you to take home and grill (that's my kind of fast food). If you don't have such a market then you'll have to do it yourself. That's okay, I'll help......
First you need to find yourself a nice piece of flank steak and pound that sucker pretty thin with a meat mallet. If you don't have a mallet you can use a rolling pin or tequila bottle (I know you have one of those).
Then you want to marinate it in loads of garlic, spices, lime, and beer. I like to usually use a combination of ground cumin and coriander but this time used my cilantro that had gone to seed in place of the ground coriander. Yay for me neglecting my garden! You should marinate the meat at least a couple of hours, but the longer the better; overnight would be just fine.
Then it's time to fire up the grill. First go on the veggies. I highly recommend one of these grilling baskets—no more sacrificial peppers falling into the flames.
As far as the veggies go, red onions are a must and then I used these beautiful sweet chartreuse peppers I had in the garden along with some whole cherry peppers and firey hot red chiles. You can adjust this to whatever you like, whole cloves of garlic or whole scallions would also be nice.
Remove the veggies to a plate, cover them with foil and keep them warm in a low oven while you grill the meat (alternatively you could grill everything at once if you have a super giant grill). Grill the meat to your desired doneness—for fajitas we like to cook them a little more than your typical steak, they should have a bit of chew to them—then slice the steak and serve with warmed tortillas, sour cream, pico de gallo, the grilled veggies, and ice cold beer.
Classic Steak Fajitas
Makes 6-8 servings
3 pounds flank steak
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lime, cut into pieces
1 (12-ounce) beer
3 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning vegetables
1 teaspoon ground coriander or 2 tablespoons fresh coriander seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning vegetables
1 large red onion cut into 1/2-inch thick rings
3 large bell peppers, seeded and quartered
2-3 jalapeños, left whole if you like spice, otherwise, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
16-20 tortillas, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole, to serve
Pound the steak very thin with a meat mallet then transfer to a large container. Add garlic, lime, beer, salt, coriander, cumin, and black pepper and rub steak with the marinade ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Toss onion and peppers with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and tender. Remove to a plate, cover with foil and keep warm in a low oven.
Grill meat, turning once, until lightly charred on the outside and cooked to desired doneness. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Let rest while you cook the tortillas. Cook the tortillas one at a time in a dry cast iron skillet until toasted on one side, flip and toast the other side then remove to clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
Thinly slice the meat against the grain then slice the bell peppers into 1/2-inch thick strips and serve with the tortillas, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole.