Maybe it’s because the weather has been so cold in Atlanta lately (or because I had a fun meal at a Caribbean restaurant in Denver a couple of weeks ago), but I’ve been thinking a lot about warmer climates, and the food and drinks that go with them. I’ve found myself craving margaritas, caipirinhas, tacos, poblanos, and an assortment of other latin-inspired food and drinks. I started thinking about what I might make, and remembered seeing a flank-steak recipe in which it was marinated with tequila (along with other ingredients that I have since forgotten). I made some good black beans the other day, so I decided that I had the start for a couple of good latin-themed meals: flank-steak tacos tonight, and then I’ll use leftovers to put together a healthier version of nachos later in the week.
For the steak marinade, I combined:
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup tequila
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
I placed this in a ziplock bag with:
- 1 pound flank steak
I put this in the refrigerator to marinate for the afternoon (anything between 1 and 8 hours would work just fine). When I was getting ready to get the rest of the meal together, I took this out of the fridge to bring closer to room temperature before cooking.
In the meantime, you can prepare whatever toppings you like for your tacos. In addition to the black beans that I made earlier, I decided on salsa, roasted poblanos, and red onions. Other good choices would be sour cream, lettuce, avocado, and thinly-sliced radishes (which I will probably use the next time I make them).
For the salsa, I used the same basic recipe as for the tomato-based salsa I made with shrimp the other day. After last week’s snow and ice, stores still haven’t fully restocked their shelves, so I couldn’t find campari tomatoes anywhere and substituted grape tomatoes that I had quartered. I also added a little lemon juice (about 1 Tbsp). Other than that I stuck with the basic recipe that I posted earlier.
For the roasted poblano peppers, I placed two poblano peppers into a 425-degree oven on a foil-lined cookie sheet. I roasted them for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice until they were browned and slightly charred on all sides. When I roasted poblanos for an earlier recipe (Quinoa with Shrimp, Roasted Poblanos, and Tomatillo Sauce), I just left them in a covered bowl until they cooled enough to handle before peeling. This time I followed a suggestion I found a few places online, and put them in a paper bag to cool – I used a bag that the grocery store used to wrap individual bottles of wine. This seemed to work a lot better – the thin membrane peeled right off of the peppers. After peeling, I then took out the stem and seeds, and cut into slices about 1/4 inch wide.
I like to cook my flank steak on a grill, but I didn’t have gas in the tank so I decided to try the broiler. I pre-heated the broiler to high, then placed a wire-mesh cooling rack (sprayed with vegetable spray) on a foil-lined cookie sheet, and put the flank steak on that. I read online to cook the steak for 4 minutes each side to get to medium-rare, but that turned out to be too little time. The most reliable method – and the one I prefer to use – is to use a thermometer with a remote temperature gauge (such as this one) and cook the steak until it registers 140 degrees in the middle. At this point, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.
To make the tacos, briefly heat in the microwave tortillas, and than add whatever toppings you choose. For these tacos I used:
- vegetarian black beans
- flank steak
- thinly-sliced red onions
- roasted poblanos
- cherry-tomato salsa
I’ve tried making tacos at home before, but I’ve never been as pleased with the results as those I can get at some many great Atlanta-area restaurants. I’m happy to report that I liked these as well as the steak-tacos I’ve had out other places (and I know the ingredients are all very healthy), so I’ll put these into my rotation at home.