First recipe post is kind of an easy one, a few months ago I wanted to impress a girl so I decided to flex my cooking skills and make a meal for us. Though we frequently cooked together at work, I wanted to use this opportunity to put my soul on the plate show her what I’m about: flame cooked meats, fresh fruit, and a touch of grease. After a day of brainstorming, these elements led me to fresh Mexican fare: fried carne asada street tacos with mango salsa, re-fried beans, and Spanish rice. My boy Kevin helped me with preparing the re-fried beans and Spanish rice. With a menu in mind I got to work on the tacos and salsa
- -Corn tortillas
- -Queso Fresca (get a block, crumble by hand)
- -Diced white onion and cilantro
- Carne Asada- Specifically, I used flap steak pre-marinated by my local grocery store. But you can use other cuts like tri-tip, sirloin, or even tripe. And it is pretty easy to do a basic marinate on your own.
- – ¼ cup Olive oil
- – ¼ Citrus juice
- -Salt & black pepper
- -2 teaspoons Minced or powdered garlic
- -2 teaspoons Onion powder
- -2 teaspoons ea. of various spices: ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, paprika
- -¼ cup Cider vinegar
- -Small handful of Cilantro (preferably fresh).
In a large Zip-lock bag, submerge the flap steak in oil, then sprinkle in all the other ingredients and seal the bag up and try not to leave too much air in it. Gently massage the bag so the spices are thoroughly mixed in the marinade and has even coverage over the steak. Basically, make sure you don’t have a mound of spice concentrated in one area. Tenderize meat to your liking by striking it with a blunt object, be careful not to puncture the bag. Let the bag sit in a refrigerator while you prep the rest the meal, this will give the steak time to soak up all them spices and marinade juices. The meat is one of the quickest things to cook relative to the rice and beans, so don’t worry about it until your salsa and other stuff is prepped.
Once you are ready to start grilling, turn on the BBQ and let it get nice and hot (like around 400 F): the goal is to just get a good char on the steak before you chop it up, don’t worry if the meat isn’t cooked all the way through. Throw that flap steak on the fire until it has some sexy grill marks on both sides and the slightest bit of char on the edges (about 2-3 minutes each side). Before the meat gets too done, take it off the heat and chunk it. Prep a frying pan with a light coat of cooking oil, when hot toss in the chunks of beef to get some extra crisp and grease.
Heat a shallow puddle of cooking oil (canola or vegetable) up to about 350 F in a frying pan. I like using the same pan I fry the meat in because you get some of those good meat juices. The trick is to use an assembly line system so you can fry more than one taco at a time. A find a three taco rotation is optimal for timing and so each taco structurally supports the others.
Take a corn tortilla and put about small scoop of steak, a sprinkle of queso fresco, cilantro, and diced onion. Tortilla sizes vary so fill it appropriately; the innards should be encased in the tortilla not bursting out. Fold the taco and loosely shingle 3 tacos in the frying pan so they keep each other folded. Let it fry for about 3 minutes or until the tortilla has turned to a golden brown then flip the tacos to fry the other side for another 3 minutes. When the tortilla has become a crispy shell, take them out and place the tacos on a paper toweled plate to remove excess oil from the outside. If you are so inclined you can lightly sprinkle salt or more queso fresco on the outer shell. Let it cool for a hot second, and enjoy with a medley of hot sauces and the rest of your fixin’s.
Mango Salsa Ingredients:
-1 diced Mango
-4 diced tomatoes
-½ diced red onion
-1 tablespoon of rough chopped cilantro
-Spritz of citrus juice
-1 Serrano pepper
-1 Jalepeño pepper
-pinch of salt and pepper
In a medium bowl mix ¼ inch diced tomato, half an onion, and mango. Prepare the peppers by cutting off both ends and cleaning all the seeds and lighter flesh parts; save a little bit because these parts contain the majority of the peppers’ spice and you can add some in if you prefer a spicier salsa. Dice the pepper into pieces about half the size of the tomato and add to the mix. I prefer a finely diced pepper so it is more evenly distributed through the salsa. Spritz a bit of citrus juice into the mix along with cilantro, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Let the salsa sit in a refrigerator for at least an hour so the flavors can develop. The citrus, salt, and time help express the flavors of the mango, onion, and peppers. When the rest of the meal is ready, scoop it out into a classy dish and enjoy with chips or directly on the taco. Or eat it directly with a spoon, I don’t care how you do it, just enjoy!
Because I recruited Kevin to work on the rice and beans, I don’t fully remember the recipes but I will try to include them at a later time. He was well compensated with all the extra tacos and salsa he could desire. As for now, I hope you enjoy your carne asada tacos and mango salsa; if you are like minded, you might enjoy to pair them with a Pacifico and a warm summer evening.