Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bon Appétit Meal, May '08

Oh, Bon Appétit, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height that my tongue can taste and my stomach can stretch.

Truly, I have been a HUGE fan of BA for years, nay decades, now. I have read all the others, the Cooking Light's, the Gourmet's, the Food and Wine's. None can compare. It's their adventurous yet approachable recipes combined with wonderful asides covering spirits, travel and gadgets that make it a perfect foodie magazine.

As long as Toast and I have been together, we've had a tradition where I'll read each month's edition, dog-ear the recipes that I'd like to make and then let him pick out his favorite. Some have been great, some became semi-regular stars on the menu, others too labor-intensive or just not our cup of tea, but it's always interesting.

Thus starts the BA Meal of the Month! I hope you enjoy it.

The recipe chosen from the May '08 edition was Carne Asada (I can't help but think of that Taco Bell commercial with the lions saying, "Carrrrrrne asada") with Salsa Mexicana. Please note that everything in brackets "[]" are my comments. Also know that whenever I do a recipe for the first time, I follow it by the book. I'll let you know afterwards if I'd make any alterations.

Carne Asada
6 to 8 servings [halves perfectly]

Arrachera (skirt steak) is one of the most popular grilled meats in the Yucatán - served sizzling hot off the steel-drum grills of street vendors and at restaurants like La Parrilla in Cancún. [Did you know that skirt steak is cow diaphragm?]

8 poblano chiles
2 bunches green onions (about 12), dark green tops trimmed
2 pounds skirt steak, cut crosswise into 6-inch-wide pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse kosher salt
Corn or flour tortillas
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced
Lime wedges
Salsa Mexicana (see recipe to follow)

Prepare barbecue (high heat). Grill chiles and onions until charred all over, about 3 minutes for onions and 5 minutes for chiles. [Toast grilled these for the stated times and they weren't nearly charred enough. I found that you can't peel them very well unless they're charred, so use your judgment.] Transfer onions to plate; tent with foil. Transfer chiles to large bowl; cover with plastic and let stand 15 minutes. Peel and seed; cut into 1-inch-wide strips. Transfer to plate; tent with foil.

Rub steak with garlic; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Grill until cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Transfer to work surface; cool 5 minutes. Grill tortillas until warm and slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side. Cut steak crosswise into strips; transfer to plate.

Serve steak with tortillas, chiles, green onions, avocado slices, lime wedges and Salsa Mexicana.

Salsa Mexicana
Makes about 1½ cups [again, halves perfectly, although this is so good, you could have it with tortilla chips later]

12 ounces tomatoes (about 2 medium), cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 medium white onion (about 7 ounces), cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 to 8 serrano or jalapeño chiles, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Coarse kosher salt

Combine first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with coarse salt. Do Ahead Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

This recipe was awesome! It was flavorful and fresh. I had never had carne asada before and Toast had never had it with tortillas, but we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Besides the few notes in the recipe, it's easy to follow and everything came out great. I tend to not read recipes all the way through before I make them (character flaw), so I didn't know why we were cutting the meat into 6" pieces, but it worked out in the end. I wouldn't make any alterations, although Toast thought the meat should have been "zingier".


Keriann said...

I could have probably lived my entire life without the knowledge that skirt steak was a cow diaphragm. Ugh.

The Disgruntled Chemist said...

I had never had carne asada before


Carne asada is just about my favorite thing ever. Out here we have a thing called a California burrito, which varies depending on the hole-in-the-wall where you get it, but generally includes carne asada, guacamole, pico de gallo (what I'd call your salsa), sour cream, cheese, potatoes and grilled onions. It is so good. You can get them with chicken, but it's just not the same.

One alteration I would suggest for your recipe is to sprinkle some cumin and chili powder on your steak after you rub it with the garlic, in lieu of the salt and pepper. That might make it "zingier" for Toast, and it gives it a very Mexican flavor (in my opinion, anyway).

The Disgruntled Chemist said...

Oh, and if you can find some Anaheim chili peppers, you might consider using those in addition to the Poblano peppers. The Anaheim peppers are a little more tangy (they're not all that hot), but I really like their flavor especially after they've been grilled.

Tracy said...

Why, thank you, Chemist! I shall most assuredly refer back to your tips next time I make it, because there will be a next time.

Eric Wilde said...

Sounds good. Have you ever been to Cancun? Definitely a trip worth doing outside of Spring Break weeks. If you ever do go let me know, I know a great hotel there. Tequila flows like water, too.

Try rubbing in the salt and some spices (ala Chemist) a few hours before hand to make it more tender and get the flavor deeper into the meat.