Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Carne Asada with Grilled Bell Pepper

The Spanish “carne asada” translates to “grilled meat” in English, but the dish called carne asada is all about marinated beef. And that marinade is key. Recipes, of course, vary widely in Mexico but many are similar to Cuban mojo—a bright, floral mixture of orange and lime juices, herbs, and lots of garlic. How wonderful is that? Be prepared to give the beef at least four hours to soak up all that delicious flavor—overnight, even better.

Many carne asada recipes are made with skirt steak, as here. I love this cut of beef—not only for its delicious flavor and tenderness, but for its look as well. If you’re not familiar with skirt, be aware that the piece you buy will likely be folded in the butcher’s case or in the package. But a two-pound steak will typically roll out to 24 to 30 inches long. Of course, that means you’ll need to cut the full steak into smaller pieces to fit your grill rack.

For this recipe, I asked the butcher for a small cut, between one and one-and-a-quarter pounds. So the steak I bought was about 16 inches long, and I cut it into two pieces.

Folded Skirt Steak 
Unfolded Skirt Steak 
Tip: As with any cut of beef, it’s important to let the grilled meat rest after it’s cooked, then cut it against the grain for serving. With skirt steak, the pieces will likely be too long to cut against the grain into reasonably sized slices, so simply cut each grilled piece into about four-inch sections crosswise (with the grain), then cut those pieces into thin serving slices against the grain.

How you serve carne asada is up to you. I tossed the meat with grilled bell pepper and served pico de gallo and warm tortillas alongside. Let your guests make tacos, or simply eat it as is—it’s all good.

Another tip: If you’re making pico de gallo, keep it simple, fresh, and traditional. Combine chopped tomato, onion, serrano chiles, and cilantro in a bowl and squeeze in fresh lime juice. Season with salt and let stand for a few hours on the countertop. 

Pico de Gallo
Serves 4-5

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 large naval orange
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for rubbing grill grate
  • 1-1/4-lb skirt steak (16-18 inches long), trimmed of membrane, cut crosswise into 2 pieces
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into 6 strips
  • sea salt
  • pico de gallo and wam tortillas, for serving
Marinade Ingredients 
Sliced Pepper
  1. Combine the garlic, lime juice, orange juice, cilantro, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a bowl, whisking well to combine.
  2. Place the steak pieces in a sturdy, sealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over them. Seal and turn several times to coat. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).
  3. Prepare a grill for high heat. When ready, rub the grate with oil.
  4. Place the pepper strips in a bowl and rub with oil. Season with salt and set aside.
  5. Remove the steak from the marinade, letting excess drip off (discard the marinade). Season both sides with salt and grill until lightly charred outside and pink inside, 4-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness (or until desired degree of doneness). Transfer to a cutting board.
  6. Grill the pepper strips until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes, turning 2-3 times. Transfer to another cutting board.
  7. Cut the rested steak crosswise (with the grain) in half. Cut each piece against the grain into thin slices. Chop the grilled bell pepper.
Steak in Marinade 
Marinated Steak 
Beginning to Grill 
Grilled Steak
Pepper Beginning to Grill 
Grilled Pepper
Sliced Steak
Toss the beef and pepper together and mound on a platter. Serve with pico de gallo and warm tortillas alongside.

Carne Asada with Grilled Bell Pepper

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