When you combine traditional Mexican tacoria style food with American barbecue, this is what happens: carne asada. This recipe comes straight from the four Vendley brothers who operate two Vendi Award winning taco trucks in New York City and Calexico restaurant on Union Street in Brooklyn.
Originally from a city that borders California and Mexico, the Vendley’s food reflects a merging of two cultures. I’ve read about how their signature dish, skirt steak tacos, have been their top seller for years but I haven’t had the pleasure of tasting them until this weekend. Behold, Food and Wine Magazine actually published the original recipe — just in time for Cinco de Mayo.
I’m not sure how extensive your spice cabinet is but if it’s still stuck somewhere around cinnamon, you need to high tail it over to Herbs and Spice and Everything Nice at Findlay Market. Okay, any grocery store would suffice — but talking up “The Colonel,” is half the fun. (If you haven’t met him yet, look for the guy with the easy smile and the extensive knowledge of star anise.)
I learned in culinary school that using measuring spoons is excusable the first time you make a recipe. After that, though, you should just forget it. When using spices now, I always make small piles in a clear bowl to help estimate proportions. If you do it this way, just remember not to upset the basic ratios.
Hit with the juice of 4 or 5 limes, the spice mixture becomes a pasty liquid. Just soak the strips of steak in this marinating mixture for a couple of hours and then throw them on the grill. Of course, it would have been great to experience this recipe outside, but as threats of winds and floods threatened the area, I figured there was no time quite like the present to just go ahead and use the grill pan.
I drizzled the extra marinade sauce over the finished steaks and at that point my mouth was watering so much I had trouble with the camera. I had very good intentions of shooting all kinds of artistic shots of the steak, but then one thing led to another and I was shoving taco in my mouth while standing on a chair five feet over my plate with a camera. It’s not that attractive, by the way, to juggle these tasks — just ask Dustin. Which is to say, the food was very good.
Skirt Steak Tacos
Recipe from Food and Wine Magazine.
Makes 12 tacos
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5-inch strips
12 corn tortillas, warmed
Pico de Gallo (mixture of onion, tomato, cilantro and lime)
Avocado Salsa (mixture of avacado, water, lime and lime)
In a large resealable plastic bag (I used a clear, glass bowl), combine the paprika, ancho powder, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, chipotle, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Add the lime juice and oil and shake the bag to blend. Add the steak and seal the bag. Let the steak stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the steak over moderately high heat, turning twice, until lightly charred on the outside and medium-rare within, about 10 minutes. Transfer the steak to a work surface and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice the steak and serve with tortillas, Pico de Gallo, Avocado Salsa and cabbage.[/print_this]