Carne asada is a staple in Latin food served throughout Mexico, Central America, and the US. The name directly translates to “grilled meat”, but anyone who’s tasted it knows carne asada is way more than its simple name suggests. Flavorful, juicy, and loaded with spices, carne asada is traditionally served in tacos, burritos, and fajitas, but many regions have their own special use for the meat. Planning a trip to San Diego? Don’t miss the local favorite late night meal, carne asada fries (we’ll get to the specifics later).
Image: Ron Dollete/Flickr
If you’re lucky enough to live near a Hispanic market, many meat counters carry pre-seasoned beef you can buy and take home to cook. But if you’re looking for more of a hands-on experience, fire up the grill (or grill pan) and follow this easy recipe for carne asada at home, adapted from Tyler Florence. Makes 4 servings.
Homemade Carne Asada
- 2 pounds flank or skirt steak
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 orange, juiced
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix the minced garlic and jalapeno with the chopped cilantro, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the lime and orange juice, vinegar and oil. Whisk to combine.
Trim any excess fat from the steak and lay it flat in a baking dish. Pour marinade over steak, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to 8).
Heat a grill or grill pan on high heat. Season marinated stakes with salt and pepper and grill them for 7-10 minutes per-side, for medium rare. Take the meat off the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing diagonally to serve.
Pretty easy right? Now here comes the fun part – how to eat it. Your options are pretty much endless, but here are a few delicious ideas:
- Top carne asada with diced cilantro and white onion and fill small corn tortillas with the mixture for authentic street tacos.
- While the meat rests, grill sliced bell pepper and onions. Fill small flour tortillas with the veggies and meat to make fajitas.
- Mix carne asada with chopped romaine lettuce, black beans, corn kernels, avocado and chopped radishes. Dress with fresh lime, sour cream, and cilantro for a southwestern salad.
- Fry up some french fries and drench them in carne asada, guacamole, sour-cream, and a hearty handful of cheddar cheese for (possibly heart attack-inducing) carne asada fries
Image: permanently scatterbrained/Flickr