Thursday, September 11, 2008


I've only eaten Fajitas once, several years ago while on a business trip to Tuscon, Arizona. Our entire group went to a Mexican restaurant, and I ordered Fajitas. They were quite unremarkable. I'm not sure if I just didn't appreciate Mexican food at the time, or if the restaurant wasn't that good. But there was no outstanding flavor to the food, so I suspect it was the latter. Then I watched Tyler Florence make Fajitas on the Food Network, and they looked and sounded so yummy. I decided to take a chance because the ingredients appealed to me, especially the marinade. I wasn't disappointed. I'd like to say these were the best
Fajitas I've ever had; but that would be incorrect grammar since I've only had Fajitas twice. So I guess these were the better Fajitas. They're not hard to make. When Guy asked me what was for dinner, I told him we were having "Mexican steak sandwiches." He was ok with it and he even opted to eat a whole-grain tortilla. Of course, I didn't mention it was whole grain and he didn't seem to detect that it was. I'll be making these again because they're really, really good.

Tyler Florence's Fajitas
Rating: 10 out of 10
Marinade (Mojo): 1 orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt

2-1/4 lbs. skirt or flank steak, trimmed of fat, cut into thirds, or 8" pieces
salt and pepper
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
lime juice, olive oil, optional
12 flour tortillas, warm
Guacamole, recipe follows
Good-quality store-bought salsa

In a small 2-cup measuring cup, or something similar in size and shape, combine all the marinade ingredients. Using an immersion blender, puree the marinade until smooth. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and add the steak; seal and shake to coat. Refrigerate the beef for 2-4 hours to tenderize and flavor the beef.

Preheat a grill pan, preferably ridged, on high heat.

Drain the marinade from the beef; discard. Lightly oil the grill or grill pan. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Grill the steak over medium-high heat and cook for 4 minutes on each side and then transfer to a cutting board and let rest. Depending on the size of your grill pan you may need to cook in batches.

Once the beef is off the grill pan and resting, add the bell peppers and onions tossed with lime juice and olive oil, if using. Grill the mixture for 7-8 minutes until the vegetables are just barely limp.

While the peppers and onions are cooking, heat up the tortillas. Turn any free burners on a medium low flame. Place a tortilla on each flame and let it char about 30 seconds to 1 minute; flip the tortilla and repeat on the second side. Once heated and charred, remove the tortilla to a clean tea towel and wrap to keep warm. Repeat until you have warmed all of your tortillas.

You can also heat your tortillas in a microwave: lightly dampen a tea towel with some water, wrap the tortillas in the damp towel and heat in the microwave for about 1 minute. Check to see if they are warm; if not, repeat the heating at 1 minute intervals until they are warm and pliable.
Thinly slice the steak against the grain on a diagonal. (You will be slicing on the long side of the steak, since the grain on a skirt steak runs on the short side. That is why you cut the steak into 8" pieces.)

To serve: Spread some guacamole on a tortilla, top with a few slices of steak, peppers and onions and salsa. Roll up the tortilla to enclose the filling. You may also add sour cream and shredded cheese, if desired.
5 ripe Hass avocados
3-4 limes, juiced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile, chopped
1 big handful fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
Halve and pit the avocados. With a tablespoon, scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados with a fork, leaving them still a bit chunky. Add all of the rest of the ingredients, and fold everything together. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole so it doesn't brown and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. (You can also use purchased guacamole, if desired.)


Katrina said...

I love fajitas. We moved to Kansas from Tucson three years ago and lived there for five years. We grew to love Mexican food (we already liked it), but you definitely have to go to the right places down there near the border. Do you remember the name of the place you went to?
I also love Tyler Florence. Yum on these fajitas. Way to sneak in the whole grain tortilla! I've "converted" my husband to whole grain pasta, but he still loves a white, green or red flour tortilla better than those brown ones! ;)
I haven't made the pb cookies yet, like I wanted to, but will let you know when I do.

Judy said...

Katrina - I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but our "host," the director of the Houston Refugee Ministry, told us it was the best restaurant in town. It had nice ambiance, but, like I said, I wasn't into Mexican at the time. Actually, I'm still not, but these Fajitas from Tyler are really, really good.