Fajitas can be so good, but they can also be pretty bad. It’s not one of those things that can’t be messed up. Like mac and cheese for example, it’s all good; there are just different levels of goodness. Fajitas are not one of those things that can still be good even if they’re bad. I decided I would not (could not) make a bad fajita. Fajitas seem fairly basic but there is a lot of technique that goes into each component to create perfection.
1 skirt steak, about 1 pound
1 shot tequila
2 limes, zest and juice
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 jalapeño, sliced
1. Throw all ingredients into a ziplock bag and allow the steak to marinade at least 30 minutes.
2. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. It is really important that the steak is dry. This will allow it to get a nice sear on the outside. Season the steak on both sides with salt.
3. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Once you see the oil start to swirl, it is hot enough to add the meat. Cook for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare.
4. Remove the steak and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
The Onions & Peppers:
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. When the pan is very hot, add just the peppers. If you have a lot of peppers, cook them in batches. You do not want to overcrowd the pan; overcrowding will prevent the peppers from getting good color and flavor. When you see the peppers are developing color, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan, this will help them soften without burning. When the water is cooked away, season the peppers with salt and remove them to a plate or bowl.
2. After all the peppers are cooked, cook the onions. Lower the heat to medium to cook the onions. Unlike the high heat fast cook method used for the peppers, the onions will take a little longer. Same thing goes for the onions; when they begin to soften, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan. When the water is cooked away, season the onions with salt and add them to the plate with the peppers.
The reason we wait until the end to season is because salt draws out liquid and we want the vegetables to stay as dry as possible
to help them brown. If we salt in the beginning, there
would be too much liquid in the
pan to gain color.
The Roasted Garlic:
8 whole garlic cloves, or however many you would like
1/2 cup olive oil
1. In a small sauce pan, add the olive oil and garlic.
2. Heat over low heat until the garlic starts to turn golden, about 20 minutes.
This is the way I learned how to roast garlic working in restaurants.
Of course you can use your oven, but this way is much
simpler and you can reserve the garlic infused
oil for another dish. The trick here is to
make sure the oil is never too hot;
it is very easy to burn garlic.
Reserved garlic oil
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved roasted garlic oil in a sauté pan.
2. Heat each tortilla in the oil one at a time. Constantly move and flip the tortillas so they do not burn. You just want to achieve a little golden color but not so much that the tortilla isn’t pliable.
3. When the tortillas are done, spread the roasted garlic onto each one.
Condiments vary for fajitas depending on personal taste. I topped mine with an avocado salsa, pickled red onions and queso fresco.
2 avocados, diced
1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl.
Pickled Red Onions:
The pickled red onion recipe can be found here.
All good fajitas deserve a good side. Instead of the
usual rice and beans, I decided to
make some baked sweet
2 sweet potatoes, cut into fries
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 425º.
2. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes. Add them to a pan and coat with olive oil. Season with chili powder, cumin and salt.
3. Bake for about 25 minutes or until soft.
4. Turn the oven on to broil and broil the sweet potatoes for an additional 3-5 minutes.
To go with the seasoned fries, I made a spicy ketchup. Just mix ketchup with some hot sauce, chili powder and a 1/4 teaspoon of white wine vinegar.
Just omit the steak and bulk the fajita up with some beans or marinated tofu.
Assemble your fajitas and enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: Have someone close
by in case you need to be
carried away from
The Refined Palate
Christina Miros ©2014