So for those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you will know that John and I share a special passion for Mexican food. Between our Mexican gourmet club dinner, Casa Bonita and our dedicated pursuit for Mexican grocery stores in Edmonton, we are fully committed to Mexican food at home. We have also travelled to Mexico numerous times together, where we don’t take our eating lightly. We make a point of trying as many different Mexican restaurants as possible during our travels, whether it’s a lovely sea-side Mexican restaurant at the shores of Mazatlan, Tex Mex in Austin, or the wonderful selection of Mexican and “Fresh Mex” restaurants that are to be found in the desert states throughout the United States. We are always on the lookout.
John and I have found in searching for the best Mexican food, it’s important not to judge a book by it’s cover. The best we have had to date was in a little hole in the wall in Carlsbad CA, a restaurant with authentic Mexican flair and the best selection of Tequila we had ever seen. We still revel in the memory of the delightful Yukatan pork we were served that night. On the other hand, this not judging a book by it’s cover tactic can back-fire, as the dilapidated open-24-hours Ruberto’s in Montana employing one very tired looking cook with over 60 menu options served us the worst we have ever had.
One thing John and I really enjoy are the fresh grilled beef tacos, known as Carne Asada (translation: grilled meat.) We decided to try our hand at this Mexican delicacy.
First we had to find some key ingredients. As you may know, our preferred brand of Mexican hot sauce is Valentina’s. So it will be important to have a bottle at hand for your Carne Asada tacos. (If you can’t find Valentina’s, Chalula’s is a viable alternative.) Second, you want to make sure you have corn tortillas. You can usually find your soft corn tortillas at most grocery stores, but as mentioned above, John and I quite enjoy our Mexican grocery stores. At our favourite in Edmonton, Argyle Foods, we like to purchase our corn tortillas as well as our beloved Valentina’s hot sauce.
You can probably use many different cuts of beef for your tacos, but John and I like the flank steak, a steak that is great for marinating. Make your marinade and marinade your steak for at least one hour before grilling.
Prepare all of your toppings. We like to use fresh onions, grated cheese, cilantro, Valentina’s hot sauce. and salsa verde (see below.) Heat your tortillas and serve!
TIPS for Carne Asada:
- Grill your flank steak however you like, John and I prefer medium rare
- Be sure to cut your flanks steak with the grain when serving
- Have fun with your topping! The attached recipe is just suggestions but use whatever you like
Last year, John and I planted a tomatillo plant in our garden. To our amazement, our plant thrived, producing dozens of tomatillos. Now we were faced with the problem of how we were going to use up 30+ tomatillos!
A tomatillo is a rather strange fruit (or vegetable?) It has a husk like corn that has to be removed. It is about the size and shape of a tomato. The inside is fresh and crispy, with the consistency somewhat like and apple. The flavour? It is unique and tart, fresh with a hint of lime.
So for our grilled beef tacos, I decided to take a crack at making a salsa verde, the green salsa that is often used as a garnish on tacos. It just so happens that the key ingredient is tomatillos.
I removed the husk from the tomatillos, and washed the sticky surface. I put a couple in my magic bullet with garlic, jalapenos, cilantro, pepper and salt. The result was amazing, a fresh and tangy salsa that was a perfect garnish for our tacos.
TIPS for Salsa Verde:
- Careful when using the fresh jalapenos, as a small amount of variance in the amount of pepper and seeds use can have a large impact on the heat of your salsa verde. I would suggest you start with between ¼ to 1/3 of the pepper with seeds removed, and add more to taste.
- Add more salt or other ingredients to taste
These strange fruits in your salsa verde will be the star of your Mexican meal. Turns out they freeze well too!
The delicious combination of the tender marinated flank steak goes just right with the tangy and spicy salsa verde. This wonderful and fun Mexican feast will take your taco night to the next level.
Click here to view printable Word version of recipe:
Carne Asada Tacos with Fresh Salsa Verde
Carne Asada – Grilled Beef Tacos
Sweet onion, thinly sliced
Salsa verde – see recipe below
Mexican Style hot sauce (Valentina’s)
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Cilantro, finely chopped
Marinade flank steak for at least an hour.
Grill steak to medium rare. To serve, slice steak into thin strips, slicing across the grain.
Heat tortillas before serving – microwave or fry
Garnish with onion, grated cheese, salsa verde and hot sauce of choice (Try Valentina’s or Chalula’s)
Fresh Salsa Verde
1 tbsp minced jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
Blend all ingredients together. IF you want it hotter, add more jalapeno.