Steak Tacos / Carne Asada

Steak Tacos

Steak Tacos

I found this recipe from Cooks Illustrated and it was delicious!    Top notch.    For a less spicy dish, remove some or all of the ribs and seeds from the jalapenos before chopping them in the marinade.   In addition to the toppings suggested below, try serving the tacos with Sweet and Spicy Pickled Onions (recipe inside), thinly sliced radishes or cucumber, or salsa.   When I tried out the recipe, I just used some Roasted Tomato salsa and it was fantastic with the onions and lime juice on the side.    I also used corn tortillas but using flour is fine according to your tastes.

Herb Paste Ingredients
½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
3 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 medium scallions, roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 medium jalapeno chile, stemmed and roughly chopped (remove ribs and seeds to make less spicy)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime

Steak Ingredients
1 flank steak (1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut lengthwise (with grain) into 4 equal pieces or strips.    (Note: after cooking, you will cut across the grain to get individual pieces)
1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Taco Assembly Ingredients
12 (6 inch) corn or flour tortillas, warmed
fresh cilantro leaves
minced white onion
lime wedges

1.  FOR THE HERB PASTE: Pulse cilantro, garlic, scallions, jalapeno, and cumin in food processor until finely chopped, ten to twelve 1-second pulses, scraping down sides as necessary.   Add oil and process until mixture is smooth and resembles pesto, about  15 seconds, scraping down sides of workbowl as necessary.   Transfer 2 tablespoons herb paste to medium bowl; whisk in lime juice and set aside.

2. FOR THE STEAK: Using dinner fork, poke each piece of the steak 10 to 12 times on each side.   Place in large baking dish; rub all sides of steak pieces evenly with salt and then coat with remaining herb paste.   Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

3. Scrape herb paste off of steak and sprinkle all sides of pieces evenly with sugar and pepper.   Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until smoking.   Place steak in skillet and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes.   Flip steak and sear until second side is well browned, 2 to 3 minutes.   Using tongs, stand each piece on a cut side and cook, turning as necessary, until all cut sides are well browned and internal temperature registers 125 to 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 7 minutes.    Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

4. FOR THE TACOS: Using sharp chef’s knife or carving knife, slice steak pieces across grain into 1/8-inch thick pieces.   Transfer sliced steak to bowl with herb paste-lime juice mixture and toss to coat.    Spoon small amount of sliced steak into center of each warm tortilla and serve immediately, passing toppings separately.

NOTE: To heat tortillas, I usually like to put them in a 350 degree oven wrapped in aluminum foil for 5 minutes.

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Onions
Makes about 2 Cups
The pickled onions can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

1 medium red onion, halved and sliced thin (about 1 ½ cups)
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and cut into thin rings
¼ teaspoon table salt

Place onions in medium heat-resistant bowl.   Bring vinegar, sugar, jalapenos, and salt to simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.   Pour vinegar mixture over onions, cover loosely, and let cool to room temperature, about 30minutes.   Once cool, drain and discard liquid.


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