Weekly Winner: Sometimes you just need a taco

I realize it has been awhile since my last post.  Busy times and crazy schedules have not given me time for much cooking and experimentation.  When I have had time to cook, I’ve been relying on my old standards — many of which have already been featured here.

tacoSo when I finally had a minute this weekend to enjoy a home-cooked meal, it was not my typical labor-intensive cook-all-day, lose-myself-in-the-kitchen kind of Sunday Supper.  Nope.  I wanted tacos.  Steak tacos to be exact.  Turned out to be the perfect combination — tasty, fast, a bit different, and well…. tacos.  The recipe is Grilled Steak Tacos with Spicy Slaw and it comes from Fine Cooking Magazine.

Grilled Steak Tacos with Spicy Slaw

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure ancho chile powder
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 lb. flank steak
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 to 2 medium jalapeños, stemmed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice; more as needed
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Lime wedges for serving

Procedure:

Prepare a medium (375°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the ancho powder with 1 tsp. of the sugar, 2 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper. Pat the steak dry, sprinkle the ancho mixture on both sides, and let sit at room temperature while the grill heats.

Set the onion rounds and jalapeños on a large plate and sprinkle with 1 Tbs. of the oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the lime juice, the remaining 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and toss again.

Put the steak, onions, and jalapeños on the grill. Grill the steak, flipping once, until cooked to your liking, 5 to 6 minutes for medium rare (130°F to 135°F). Grill the vegetables, flipping once, until grill marks appear and they’re just tender, 4 to 6 minutes for the jalapeños and about 8 minutes for the onion. (Move the onions to a cooler part of the grill or lower the heat if they start to burn.) Transfer the steak and vegetables to a cutting board; let the steak rest for 5 minutes.

Chop the onions and finely chop the jalapeños, add to the cabbage mixture, and toss well. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lime juice.

Spread 4 tortillas on the grill and heat, flipping once, until warm and softened, about 1 minute. Stack the warmed tortillas in a kitchen towel; repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Thinly slice the steak and put a few slices on each of the warm tortillas. Top with the slaw and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with the lime wedges.

Weekly Winner: Baja Meets Broadway

I seem to be into mixing my food metaphors lately.  Last week’s Weekly Winner had some unique food combinations, but that’s nothing compared to this week’s entry!  This was seriously funky…. it a tasty way.   I think the reason it appealed to me is that it is a culmination of all the places I’ve been.  I was born in New York and grew to love the delis there.  Much later in life I lived in Southern California where Mexican food and, in particular, the famous Baja fish tacos were incredibly popular.  Finally, I moved to Chicago where we’ll try anything once — culinarily speaking, of course.

So… without further delay I present this week’s Weekly Winner:  Fried Fish Reuben Tacos.  No really!  I did not make this up.  I would not be brave enough to put these things together.  I got the recipe from Food & Wine Magazine and when I saw it, I thought “you’ve got to be kidding me!”  But yet, I was intrigued.  So I tried it.  And boy, was I glad I did!

Fried Fish Reuben Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon baking powder

Salt

1 ¾ cups club soda

½ cup mayonnaise

1 large dill pickle, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons ketchup

Vegetable oil, for frying

Four 6-ounce flounder fillets

Four 8-inch flour tortillas

¾ cup drained sauerkraut

¾ cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese (about 3 ounces)

1 cup microgreens or baby arugula

Method:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and a pinch of salt. With a fork, blend in the club soda until incorporated; it’s OK if the batter is lumpy. Let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, pickle and ketchup and season with salt. In a deep fryer or a very large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 375°. Pat the flounder dry and season lightly with salt. Dip 2 of the fillets in the batter and let any excess drip off. Fry the fish, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 1/2 minutes. Drain the fish on a rack set over a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining fish fillets and batter.

Warm the tortillas in the oven for about 40 seconds, until hot and pliable. Spread the Russian dressing on the tortillas. Top with the sauerkraut, fried flounder, Jarlsberg cheese and microgreens. Fold the tortilla over the fillings and serve right away.