Although it was originally made with skirt steak, this combination of steak and vegetables grilled and then wrapped in warm tortillas is the dish that put flank steak on the culinary map in the United States. The ingredients go on the grill in order as the fire dies down: steak over a hot fire, vegetables over a medium fire, and tortillas around the edge of the medium to low fire just to warm them.
- For the Chunky Guacamole:
- 3 medium avocados (preferably Hass)
- 2 tablespoons onion, minced
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 1 small jalapeño chili, minced (1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- For the Classic Red Table Salsa:
- 3 large vine-ripened tomatoes (about 2 pounds), diced small
- 1/2 cup tomato juice
- 1 minced chipotle chile in adobo, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 medium red onion, diced small
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup lime juice, from 4 medium limes
- Table salt
- For the Flank Steak:
- 1 flank steak (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup lime juice, from 2 medium limes
- Table salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1 very large onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 very large red bell peppers or green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into large wedges
- 16 plain flour tortillas (10-inches)
FOR THE CHUNKY GUACAMOLE:
Halve 1 avocado, remove the pit and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Mash the flesh lightly with the onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and cumin (if using) with the tines of a fork until just combined.
Halve and pit the remaining 2 avocados, and prepare. Gently scoop out the avocado into a bowl with the mashed avocado mixture.
Sprinkle the lime juice over the diced avocado and mix the entire contents of the bowl lightly with a fork until combined but still chunky. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary, and serve. (Can be covered with plastic wrap, pressed directly onto surface of mixture, and refrigerated up to 1 day. Return the guacamole to room temperature, removing plastic wrap at the last moment, before serving).
FOR THE CLASSIC RED TABLE SALSA:
Mix all the ingredients, including salt to taste, in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 1 hour or up to 5 days.
FOR THE FLANK STEAKS:
Ignite about 7 quarts charcoal and burn until coals are completely covered with thin coating of light-gray ash, 20 to 30 minutes. Pile coals on one-half of the grill bottom, position the grill rack and heat until very hot (you can hold your hand
5 inches above grill surface for 2 seconds).
Generously sprinkle both sides of the steak with lime juice, salt and pepper; place directly over the coals and grill until well-seared and dark brown on the first side, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the steak using tongs; continue grilling on the second side until the interior of the meat is slightly less done than you want it to be when you eat it, 2 to 5 minutes more for medium-rare (depending on the heat of the fire and the thickness of the steak). Transfer the meat to a cutting board; cover loosely with foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice very thin, on the bias against the grain; adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper.
When the charcoal fire has died down to medium, or gas grill burners are adjusted to medium (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill surface for 4 seconds), grill the onions and peppers, turning occasionally, until the onions are lightly charred, about 6 minutes, and the peppers are streaked with dark grill marks, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions and peppers from the grill and cut the peppers into long, thin strips; set aside. Arrange the tortillas around the edge of the grill; heat until just warmed, about 20 seconds per side. (Do not dry out the tortillas or they get brittle; wrap the tortillas in a towel to keep warm.) Remove to a platter; set aside.
TO SERVE FAJITAS:
Arrange the sliced meat and vegetables on a large platter; serve immediately, with tortillas, salsa and guacamole passed separately.
Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.
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