BASIC BEEF FAJITAS IN DIPPED TORTILLAS
A beef fajita is a grilled skirt steak, marinated or not, almost always doused with at least a splash of
lime juice before cooking. That's all. Slice it, wrap in a warm corn tortilla, garnish with grilled
scallions and a sprinkling of fresh mint, and you turn one of the tenderest, tastiest, and least expensive
cuts of beef into a dish for family and nobility alike. If you don't have a grill, you can pan-fry the steak
Serves 4 to 6
Takes 20 to 40 minutes
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For the Fajitas
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon pure chili powder
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 1/2 pounds skirt steak
2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil, if frying the skirt steak
12 scallions (green onions), trimmed
12 corn tortillas
Salsa Verde (recipe follows)
For the Toppings
1/3 cup thinly shredded fresh mint leaves
2 fresh limes, cut into 12 thin wedges each
For the Salsa Verde
12 ounces tomatillos
2 cups cilantro leaves
2 yellow wax or jalapeno chili peppers, stemmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
|For the Fajitas|
||Grate the onion through the fine holes of a hand grater or mince very fine in a food processor.
Place the onion in a non-reactive pan or dish large enough to hold the meat in 1 or 2 layers.
Add the chili powder and lime juice and stir to mix. Place the skirt steak in the mixture and turn to coat.
Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning once, or refrigerate and marinate for up to
2 hours, turning once or twice.|
||If grilling, prepare a charcoal fire and allow the coals to burn until they are mostly covered with white ash but a
few red spots show through here and there. This will take about 40 minutes. When the fire is ready, remove the skirt
steak from the marinade. Place on the grill rack directly over the coals. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes on each side,
depending on the thickness of the steak and how well done you like it. Remove the steak to a platter and set aside
for the juices to settle, 5 to 10 minutes.
If frying, pour 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-reactive frying pan set over medium-high heat until the
oil begins to smoke. Place as much of the steak as will fit in one un-crowded layer. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes
on each side. Remove, add more oil to the pan, and continue with another round until all the steak is cooked.
Set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
||While the steak rests, grill or pan-fry the scallions until limp and charred in spots, about 5 minutes.
Remove the scallions and cut crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces each.|
||Just before serving, dip the tortillas in the Salsa Verde. Heat in a frying pan or the oven.|
||To assemble, cut the steak across the grain into thin slices. Spread 4 or 5 slices across the middle of
a warm dipped tortilla, top with 6 or so pieces of scallion. Sprinkle some mint over the onions. Fold and
serve with a lime wedge on the side, to be squeezed on the fajita as it is eaten.|
|For the Salsa Verde|
Lovers of Mexican food are divided on the issue: red sauce or green? Emotions run high and opinions are strong when
it comes to which basic salsa is the best. (Though lines are often crossed with a subtle, quick dip of the chip into
the opposite bowl.) Mexicans are clearly natural diplomats because you usually see a bowl of each on the counters or
tables of their cantinas.
Set out in cups and there to greet you, Salsa Verde is one of the most familiar salutations to Mexican dining.
Based on tomatillos, another of the New World's glorious fruits, Salsa Verde is appealing in its bright green
color and fresh, exotic taste. Our recipe is simple, mildly tart, aromatic with cilantro, and very versatile.
Makes 2 cups|
Takes less than 20 minutes|
||Peel the papery husks off the tomatillos. Rinse the tomatillos, place them in a saucepan, and add water to cover.
Bring to a boil and simmer until soft to the touch, about 5 minutes. Remove the tomatillos and reserve the water.|
||In a food processor, blender, or food mill, purée the tomatillos along with 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid,
the cilantro, and chilies. Stir in the salt. Cover and chill a little before serving. Keeps for up to 1 week in the
• To make Salsa Verde by hand, lift the tomatillos out of the cooking water, reserving 1/2 cup of the water.
Finely chop the tomatillos, cilantro, and chili peppers with a chef's knife. Stir in the reserved water and the salt.
The sauce will be chunkier than the puréed version, but just as good.|
• For a more roasted flavor you can bake the tomatillos in the oven or sear them in an un-greased frying pan
until barely soft. If you do this, be sure to add 1/2 cup water to finish the sauce.