Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flank Steak Tacos with Pineapple-Cilantro Relish

Welcome to the meteorological start of summer, it's June!!
I'm so excited, I just can't hide it. The first pick-up of my CSA share is next week! That is a highly-anticipated event right there, let me tell you. My first CSA, I get to meet my farmers at the market in my hood...how easy is that? To actually know the persons that are growing your salad greens, veggies, and fruit, an entirely new experience that you will probably be hearing about on BLT for the next 20 weeks. They even have farm eggs and chickens! I cannot wait to roast one and compare the difference to a grocery store-bought bird. The highlight of course is eating produce that is in season, negating many bad things-poor taste, many food miles traveled, lack of nutrient retention, etc. Those tomatoes you eat in February from the big-box grocery store suck. They don't taste like tomatoes. I can't wait till the end of summer for those tomatoes. Those are the couple weeks of eating BLT's every day, maybe twice a day, it's fantastic.

Flank Steak Tacos with Pineapple-Cilantro Relish
4-6 servings

1.5 lb flank steak
2 ts ancho chili powder
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/3 C tequila
1/3 C lime juice, freshly squeezed of course
1/4 C EVOO

1/2 pineapple, rind removed, quartered and skewered
2 TB honey
freshly cracked black pepper
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 TB cilantro, finely chopped (1 TB packed after chopping)
2 TB red wine vinegar
1 TB fresh lime juice
1/4 C EVOO
1/2 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, fine dice (up to 1 whole large if desired)

Trim the flank steak of any large surface fat, if necessary. Lay out on your meat board and cover with a couple layers of plastic wrap. There are many ways to tenderize a tough piece of meat, technique-wise you can use time+ low heat, acidic marinades, and physical persuading. For the latter, I do recommend the little tenderizer hammer thing. If you don't have one of those, small stabs with a fork is okay. Pounding with a skillet is not what you want. That only flattens the meat by forcing the surface area outward, here we want penetration for tasty sauce. So, tenderize by pounding evenly on both sides, then remove wrap. Rub 1 ts of ancho chili powder on each side of steak, then a little seasoning of S&P, then you wanna place in a large, resealable plastic bag.

Combine the garlic, lime juice and tequila. Dip in a TB and take a taster. Just kidding. Mayyyyyybe. Whisk in the EVOO to combine all ingredients, then pour in plastic bag. Work the meat around a bit and seal, ensuring to remove as much air as possible. Marinate for 1-2 hrs in the fridge box, redistributing marinade halfway through by turning over a few times.

In a large bowl, combine all relish ingredients sans first three. Fire up the grille to medium-high heat. Drizzle the pineapple skewers with the honey, then season with a few turns of the pepper mill. My every-day black peppercorns are tellicherry, they give you a very solid flavor that screams fresh black pepper. If you're using pre-ground black pepper, you need to log off, shut down, and go get some corns and a mill. Perhaps here or here, my favorite spice purveyors. Salt and pepper shakers look all cute but like Niemi, say no. Back to the pineapple-grill for 6-8 minutes, carefully turning often. Swear while burning a fingerprint or two. Once you got some grill marks, remove from skewer and dice. Add to rest of relish and taste, adjust seasoning with S&P, more jalapeno too if desired. The honey will nicely tame the tart fruit of the pineapple.

Your meat should have been out of the fridge for about 30 minutes, bringing to room temp before denaturing protein over flame. As always, you don't throw cold meat on hot grill. Remove from the marinade and shake off all garlic pieces, they can burn on the grill and will not be tasty bits. Season both sides with S&P. Kosher salt indeed.

Grill over medium-high direct heat for 4-5 minutes on each side, for medium-rare. MR is the preferred temp for flank steak, you can go longer if desired, however it will be a tad tougher. The photo shows medium as it was requested in that manner for an expectant mother. A little tequila marinade though never hurt anyone.

Is it deskewered or unskewered?

Did somebody say salsa?

After resting the steak for 10 minutes, slice thinly across the grain. Warm up a stack of tortillas on the grill and you can probably figure out the rest. Enjoy with a cold Mexican beer or a tequila shooter. Or both!

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