Food You Can Eat: Fajitas

This, my friends, is a work of art.

First things first:  We got a flank steak in our Butcher Box recently so the first thing I thought of were fajitas.  Normally, fajitas are made using skirt steak, but Butcher Box doesn’t give a shit what I think so the flank steak is the next best thing.  I decided to go full-tilt Covid Bored and also made flour tortillas and Spanish rice from scratch, but the tortillas didn’t turn out as flexible as I liked so I’m going to take a shot at Throbbin of Loxley’s Flour Tortillas with Rendered Fat FYCE recipe next time and see how that goes.  Traditional tortillas don’t use milk but at this point I care more about the result than the process.

A caveat before we get started:  Actually, a couple of caveats.  The first being that fajitas are not a traditional New Mexican food, yet they are still awesome.  So, the recipe here is sort of a cross between something that is more standard Mexican restaurant fare with a little Caribbean influence.  The second being that you can easily adapt this recipe for chicken using the breast.  Anyone adapting this recipe for fish needs to seriously rethink their life choices.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Flank (or skirt) steak

Oil

NM Red Chile Powder

Pepper

Garlic—about 5 cloves, minced

Small Onion, minced

Lime

Salt

Cumin

Flour tortillas

Shredded lettuce (or microgreens)

Tomato, diced

Sour Cream

Salsa (Not that fucking Old El Paso or Chi Chi’s garbage.  Get something good from Salsamill.com)

Cheddar and/or Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded

2 Large Onions, julienne (this is Fancy Chef Speak for “sliced into thin strips”)

2 Bell Peppers, batonnet (“sliced into thick strips”)

Start 24 hours before you plan to serve by making the marinade.  Combine the oil, red chile powder, pepper, garlic, minced onion, lime juice, salt and cumin in a long, shallow dish.  By the way, I don’t remember who it was on this site who first mentioned the garlic grating dish, but…

The garlic roller is a bona-fide miracle.

Place your steak (trimmed, if necessary) into the marinade, turn it over to fully coat, cover with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator.  Be sure to turn the steak at least once during the 24-hour period to maintain an even marinating process and to better tenderize the meat. 

Why, yes, that is real Fiesta Ware. Why do you ask?

When you’re ready to start cooking, turn your grill up full blast to get it nice and hot.  While it’s preheating, go ahead and prep your onions and peppers.

When the grill is ready, place the steak on it, cover and turn the heat down to medium-high.  You want the outside to char a little bit but not cook the inside all the way through.

While the steak is cooking, pour some oil into a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot (but not smoking), throw the onions in and break them up into their individual pieces.  Don’t toss them too often—let them sit still for several minutes between tosses so that the onions can get a little browned.  By this time, your steak should be ready to turn over so go take care of that.  Then toss your sliced peppers in the pan with the onions and flip the pan a couple of times to get them mixed in well.  Pro tip:  if you’re one of those people who can’t flip a sauté pan to save your life, there is a very simple method to learning how.  Using a clean (and cold) pan, put a piece of bread in there and practice flipping it until you can consistently turn the bread over from one side to the next without it flying off the pan or doing multiple flips in the air.  The bottom of the bread should just graze the pan while it turns over, which is as good an indicator as any to determine your level of control.

Anyway, do the same with the peppers as you did with the onions, letting them sit for several minutes between tosses so that the peppers can char a wee bit—but don’t let them get soft.  If you sense that the peppers are starting to go limp, immediately remove the veggies from the heat and from the pan so they stop cooking.  By the time your peppers are ready, your steak should be ready as well so go get it off the grill.

This is what your veggies should look like: browned onions, and just-charred peppers.

Let your steak rest for about 10 minutes so the juices get reabsorbed back into the meat.  While the steak is resting, you can start putting together your plates.  Place, in discrete portions, the sauteed veggies, Spanish rice, refried beans, shredded cheese, a ramekin of salsa, and a garnish of shredded lettuce topped with diced tomatoes topped with sour cream.  If you have small (like, 6”) tortillas, then they can probably fit on the plate as well.  Or you can put them on a separate plate—your call.  However, in order to make them more pliable and avoid breaking when folding them, microwave them for about 10 seconds per tortilla.  Yell at anyone living with you to set the goddamned table already, and no we’re not watching fucking Inside Edition while we eat.  We’re going to eat in sullen silence like any good American family.

I’m sorry, where was I?  Oh, right…

Once the steak has rested properly, slice it into thin strips across the grain, put on your plate and serve.  Flank and skirt steaks are pretty tough by nature, so all the marinading and resting and cutting across the grain makes it possible to eat them without having to chew for 10 minutes with each bite.  To eat your fajitas, place some of the meat in one of your flour tortillas, then add the shredded cheese, some of the garnish and a little salsa.  Eat with your hands, like a taco.  Please, for the love of God, do not put the beans and rice in there because those are side dishes and should be treated with respect.  This isn’t fucking California. 

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About butcherbakertoiletrymaker 581 Articles
When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.

23 Comments

  1. I’m gonna make it with shrimp. I’ve spent my whole life disregarding what people have told me was right and proper. I’m too old to change. 

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