Guest Author - Martha McKinnon
Have you ever tried fajitas, marinated and grilled skirt steak that is sliced thin and served with vegetables, warm tortillas, and other garnishes? Ever wondered about how to cook fajitas at home?
Fajitas, which can be found on restaurant menus all over the US and are especially popular throughout the Southwest, are easy to make at home. Just marinate, grill, and slice your steak, add it to a skillet of sauteed onions and peppers, and serve with warm tortillas and a few garnishes. They make a great easy dinner and are festive enough for entertaining.
Fajita, means "little belt" or "sash" in Spanish and is named for the cut of meat used, the skirt steak. Food historians believe the first fajitas were grilled in little villages and border towns along the Rio Grande around the turn of the Century. They began appearing on Texas restaurant menus in the early 1970s.
Although skirt steak is the traditional cut of beef used to make fajitas, flank steak and top sirloin work well too.
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon cumin seed, crushed
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup beer
1 skirt, flank, or top sirloin steak (about 1 1/2 pounds)
12 flour tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin slices
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin slices
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin slices
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into thin slices
Salt and pepper
Shredded cheddar or jack cheese
Place the steak pieces in a shallow bowl or ziplock bag. Combine all the marinade ingredients and pour over the steak. Seal the bag or cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Marinate the steak for at least 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350 F oven. If you are going to grill your steak outside, fire up your grill. If you are going to grill your steaks inside, get your stovetop grill heating. Wrap the flour tortillas tightly in aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven. Heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until very warm.
Remove the steak from marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the steak over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes; turn and cook another 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how well done you like your steak. Remove from the heat and thin diagonally across the grain into thin strips. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
In a 12" heavy skillet (I prefer cast iron) heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the pepper and onion slices. Cook and stir until they are crisp-tender and turning brown in places, about 5 minutes.
Add the strips of steak to the skillet.
Serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, shredded cheese, salsa, diced tomatoes, and cilantro.
This steak fajita recipe makes 12 fajitas
Sources: The Official Fajita Cookbook by Richard Miller, Southwest: The Beautiful Cookbook by Barbara Pool Fenzl