This is a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated – one of the best, if not the best, cooking publication. Cook’s Illustrated focuses a lot on cooking technique and tips, which I love. They also do a lot of what I call “perfecting” recipes. For this recipe, they sought out the best way to prepare traditional Mexican carne asada (literally, roasted or grilled meat) tacos indoors, without the grill. Their method is amazing – the meat is tender, juicy, and perfectly seasoned. I made a few changes in the herb paste but otherwise I followed the recipe as is.
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro (note: I sometimes have a difficult time finding cilantro. For a back-up I keep cilantro paste, which you can find near the herb section – this worked fine in this recipe – use about 3 tbsp.)
- 3-5 garlic cloves
- 2 small jalapenos, chopped (remove the seeds for less spice, keep for more)
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- Olive oil
- 1 lime
- 1 flank steak, about 1.5 pds
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 12 small corn or flour tortillas
- Garnishment suggestions: white onion, lime, cilantro, tomato
Directions for the herb paste
Instead of juicing the lime, I decided to actually peel the lime and place the flesh and all into the food processor. Add all other ingredients and enough olive oil to create a pesto-like paste when blended. Set aside and begin to prep steak.
Cut the steak lengthwise with the grain into 3-4 equal pieces. Using a fork, poke each side of the steak about 10 times on each side. Place in large baking dish and rub all sides evenly with salt and then coat with herb paste.
Cover and marinate in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Take out & scrape herb paste off the steak, sprinkle each side lightly with sugar and pepper. Heat a small amt. of oil in a large skillet on medium. When hot, add steak to pan and cook until each side is well browned, about 3 minutes per side. Using tongs, stand each piece on its side until all sides are cooked evenly and to your preferred steak temp. Slice and serve with garnishments and tortillas.