Saturday, May 17, 2008

Steak fajitas

Delicious things, fajitas, and a dish I don't cook nearly often enough, given my love for Mexican and Tex-Mex food. For some reason I've long been reluctant to try my hand at them, but I'm not sure why. Perhaps I thought they were difficult to do well enough? As it turns out, they're not. In fact, they're so easy that they made their way into a "15 dishes in 15 minutes" special section in the June issue of Bon Appétit. I don't think I'll ever get it down to 15 minutes start-to-finish, but nevertheless, it's very quick. I've changed the recipe a bit, and my version is reflected below. The original recipe can be found here

Steak fajitas
Serves 4

4 tablespoons lime juice (3 for now, 1 for later)
1 teaspoon lime zest
4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons hot chili sauce (e.g. sriracha or harissa)
1 tablespoon ground cumin

1.5 pounds skirt steak, cut into pieces that will fit into your cookware of choice
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1-2 peppers (bell, poblano, or whatever else you fancy), seeded and sliced into 1/4" strips
salt and pepper

Combine first five ingredients (using 3 tablespoons of the lime juice) in a bowl. Trim steak and arrange in a 13x9" baking dish or place in a gallon-size sealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over steak, turn or toss to coat, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes--a few hours if you can.

Get your grill pan our outdoor grill heating (high heat). While you're waiting for it to heat up, add the onions and peppers to the steak and marinade, and mix to allow the onions and peppers to pick up some of the marinade as well. When the grill surface is hot, add the steaks and cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. I use my grill pan, which allows me to cook the onions and peppers right alongside the steak; if you're using an outdoor grill you'll have to be careful about the vegetables falling through the grate. 

Alternatively, Brave Sir Robin recommends the following cooking method:  

I usually grill them very, very rare then after they rest I slice them very thin and finish them with the onions and peppers. (of course you pour any accumulated juices in with them.)
However you choose to cook the steaks and veggies, pour the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice over it all when you're done, then transfer to a bowl or plate and serve with warm tortillas and whatever fixings you like. Tonight I'm having them with homemade guacamole!


Bee said...

Oh, this sounds so good. And makes me long for my home state.

I'm not sure what kind of beef I could sub for skirt steak -- a cut that they don't do in England.

Off topic: I checked out the site with the Weight Watchers cards -- and I was dying laughing at both the pictures and her commentary. My grandmother DEFINITELY had those cards. I remember the salmon vividly. My poor grandmother. Always dieting; always overweight. I cannot smell a can of tuna fish without thinking of her -- sadly, as it is NOT a nice smell.

Brave Sir Robin said...

Bee, if your Grandmother used those recipes, not wonder she couldn't lose weight! Wasn't that a riot?

Anee - Well, did you eat the guacamole?

Have you guys seen this? Anne, I think you have, but Bee may not have.

Brave Sir Robin said...

btw - Bee, can you get flank steak? It's not quite the same, but it will work.

Anne said...

Bee - I looked up beef cuts:
(or see here)

It looks like brisket in England is from the same area as the plate, which is where skirt steak (and hangar steak) come from here in the US. This makes sense, as brisket is also a tough, fatty cut. If you use brisket, you'll have to slice it into thinner pieces (I imagine it comes as a single piece 2" thick or so), but that's easily done, or you could have your butcher do it for you. If the first British chart (not the one from Wikipedia) is correct, it looks like you might also have a "short plate" at your disposal. Or, as BSR says, you could use flank steak, but I don't think that's quite as fatty, and therefore not as tender.

Canned tuna isn't a nice smell at all!! My mom and sister like tuna salad sandwiches, and I remember having to leave the room whenever they opened a can of tuna. Yuck! But really, the commentary with those pictures is hilariously funny. There is always much giggling when I read through the collection. Slender quenchers? Water, sherry extract (really? you couldn't just use plain sherry, it had to be extract?), and beef boullion? Heavens to Betsy. Honestly, I think I'd only make some of those recipes if I wanted to become either bulimic or anorexic--or both!

BSR - I did eat the guacamole! I liked it better on chips than on the fajitas. I didn't like it enough to get over the feeling that it was interfering with the taste of the fajitas.

And I LOVE "Steve, don't eat it!" I first came across it when I was at work, and I was laughing so hard that I had to close the window and revisit it at home, lest it become all too apparent to my neighbors that I was goofing off.

Have you seen this site? It's in German, but the idea is pretty clear as you click on the thumbnail images: they took a bunch of foods and compared them with their advertised versions. Some of them aren't too bad (mostly the chocolate ones), and some of them... well, they give the Weight Watchers recipes a run for their money. The scariest part about the whole thing: "alle produkte wurden aufgegessen." All of the products were eaten. Yikes!

Bee said...


The potted meat product was truly frightful! It was best-quality LOL stuff. Where do ya'll find this stuff?? I am just starting to realize the vast scope of weirdness available on the Internet.

As for real meat, I've never noticed beef being labeled as brisket or flank. I will check into this. Thanks, Anne, for doing some meat research for me. You are such a good researcher!!

Yes, the canned tuna smell is vile. It has put me off of tuna salad for life, I think. (Although I love seared rare tuna.) And what was the thing with the fake, synthetic foods? Sherry extract, etc.

BSR, if you are there, check in with my comments on Anne's last post re: the Taqueria and chipotle peppers.

Speaking of food, I've got to go sling some hash. (Not that I've actually ever served hash . . . but I like the expression.)