Looking to get back into running, my good friend and fellow Astorian, Jamil, and I came up with what we like to call RUNch. We meet up bright and early on Saturday or Sunday morning and run to a brunch spot. Most weekends, I try to order something on the healthy side like a veggie and egg white omelet so that I don’t completely undo the two miles I just put in. But this weekend, the Huevos Rancheros from Café Bar were calling my name: two perfectly fried eggs on top of corn tortillas with refried beans and a nice side of home fries and mushrooms (with plenty of salsa on the side). The free mimosa and endless bowls cups of coffee made it a pretty perfect breakfast.
The meal was so good, that I was thinking about it for the rest of the day, so when I went to the grocery store in search of dinner, I ended up with all of the fixings for some pretty amazing tacos. I used this recipe from one of mine and Nick’s favorite TV chefs, Aaron Sanchez, and even made the salsa he recommends. Chopped is one of our favorite shows to tune in to each week and Chef Aaron is by far our favorite judge as we all share a great love of spicy food.
Because I don’t have a grill and my broiler’s in pretty rough shape, I did make a few substitutions. Instead of grilling fresh tomatoes, I used at 15 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. I also cooked the flank steak in a very hot skillet over high heat and increased the cook time by two minutes per side for medium rare. Our grocery store didn’t carry any sort of dried chili peppers, so I substituted with ½ tsp of cayenne pepper (which is the best alternative according to Wikipedia). And finally, since we don’t have a food processor, I used a blender and totally mis-read the settings. My salsa had liquefied itself in two seconds flat so I mixed in the remaining white onion that I was going to serve on top of the tacos to make the salsa chunky again. I also tossed in a few chopped scallions for good measure. All in all, these tacos were a great success and I loved the steak especially. Using the pickled jalapeno marinade will definitely become a staple in our kitchen.
Carne Asada Tacos with Salsa De Arbol
For the Tacos:
- 1 12 oz can sliced pickled jalapenos ( I could only find whole and sliced them myself)
- 1 1 ¾-pound flank steak, trimmed
- Kosher salt and pepper
- ½ cup chopped white onion
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges, for serving
- 2-4 tbsp salsa
- Corn tortillas
For the Salsa:
- 4 dried arbol chiles, stemmed (or ½ tsp cayenne pepper)
- 1 pound plum tomatoes, halved (or 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes)
- ½ white onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced (I used 2 because I love garlic)
- 1 tsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
- Juice of ½ lime
- Pinch of sugar
- Kosher salt
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
To prepare the salsa, toast the chiles in a dry skillet or sauce pan over medium-low heat, shaking the pan, about 2 minutes. Pour ½ cup boiling water on top, cover and let soak 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a grill or grill pan to high. Grill the tomatoes, turning, until charred. Transfer to a food processor (or blender). Add the chiles and their soaking water, onion, garlic, oregano, lime juice, sugar, and 1 ¼ tsp salt; pulse until chunky. Set aside, about 1 hour. Garnish with Cilantro.
For the tacos, start by marinating the steak. Spread the jalapenos in a baking dish and press the steak on top. Cover and set aside at room temperature, about 1 hour.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to high. Brush the jalapenos off the steak, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Grill the steak for 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes, then slice.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and fry each tortilla shell, about 30 seconds per side.
Assemble the tacos! For each taco, stack 2 tortillas and lay a few pieces of steak in the middle. Top with onion, salsa, cilantro, and lime wedges.