Bold & Fresh Mexican Cuisine: Arrachera Tacos

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By Chef Rob Thomas

Earlier this year I was one of twelve Canadian chefs chosen to participate in the Canadian culinary series in the Mayan Riviera. Celebrity chef for a week in Mexico? Don’t mind if I do.

My mission – to create spectacular dishes using Canadian beef, and to wow the guests of the El Dorado Royale 5 star resort. Is it too cliché to make tacos as one of my creations in Mexico? Nope! I’m going to give the guests a mouth-watering recipe that will have them salivating for the rest of the week. With great local ingredients on hand; fresh and dried chilies, limes, cilantro, and fresh made tortillas…get ready to be hooked.

Arrachera Tacos

Grilled skirt or flank steak, or Arrachera, has bold fresh flavors of, chilis, cilantro, and garlic. This cut of meat is very popular in Mexican cooking. If you love steak, you will enjoy this flavourful marinated grilled meat.

For the marinade

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ancho chili powder (you can substitute with any chili powder)

¾ cup olive oil

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

4 serrano chilies cut in half

4 cloves garlic

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ teaspoons black pepper

1 bunch cilantro, including stems

Combine the cumin, smoked paprika, ancho chili powder, olive oil, lime juice, serrano chilies, garlic, salt, and black pepper in the jar of an electric blender and puree until smooth. Add the cilantro and pulse until just blended.

For the skirt steak

3 lbs (1500g) skirt steak or flank, cleaned marinade

½ Cup (125ml)salsa or pico de gallo

2 limes, sliced into wedges

12 warm corn tortillas

Rub the meat generously with the marinade, place in a resalable plastic bag, and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Heat grill or broiler until it is very hot. Lift the steaks from the marinade and grill each side until desired doneness, 3 minutes, turning once for medium rare. Discard the marinade. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice across the grain into thin strips and serve on tortillas. Garnish with pico de gallo, cilantro and a lime wedge.

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