Carne Asada

Recipe adapted from

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YIELD: 4-6 Servings

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chili pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems

1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank or skirt steak

FIXINGS (optional):
Chopped avocado
Lime wedges
Corn or flour tortillas
Thinly sliced radishes
Thinly sliced lettuce
Pico de gallo salsa

Whisk to combine the olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and cumin in a large, non-reactive bowl or baking dish. Stir in the minced garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro. Place the steak in the marinade and turn over a couple of times to coat thoroughly. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours or overnight (if using flank steak marinate at least 3 hours).

Preheat your grill for high direct heat, with part of the grill reserved with fewer coals (or gas flame) for low, indirect heat. You’ll know the grill is hot enough when you can hold your hand above the grill grates for no more than one second.

Remove the steak from the marinade. Lightly brush off most of the bits of cilantro and garlic (do not brush off the oil). Place on the hot side of the grill. Grill the steak for a few minutes only, until well seared on one side (the browning and the searing makes for great flavor), then turn the steak over and sear on the other side. Once both sides are well seared, move the steak to the cool side of the grill, with any thicker end of the steak nearer to the hot side of the grill.

Test with a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Pull the meat off the grill at 115°F to 120°F for rare, 125°F medium rare, 140°F for medium. The meat will continue to cook in its residual heat. Note that lean flank steak is best cooked rare, while skirt steak can be cooked well without losing moisture or flavor because it has more fat marbling.

Place the steak on a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Use a sharp, long bladed knife to cut the meat. Notice the direction of the grain of the meat and cut perpendicular to the grain. Angle your knife so that your slices are wide and thin. Warm the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side in a dry skillet or on the grill, until toasty and pliable. You can also warm tortillas in a microwave: heating just one or two at a time, place tortillas on a paper towel, and microwave them for 15 to 20 seconds each on high. Top with your favorite fixings and serve.

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