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Carne Asada Tacos

Makes 16 tacos

Carne Asada Marinade:
1/3 cup cumin seeds
6 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, cut in half, and seeded if desired
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 bunches cilantro
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat

For Serving:
16 4-inch corn tortillas, warmed
Salsa Fresca (see recipe below)
Border Guacamole (see recipe below)

Lightly toast cumin seeds in a dry medium skillet over low heat just until aroma is released, about 5 minutes.  Transfer seeds to a blender.  Add jalapeños, garlic, salt, pepper, and lime juice and puree until cumin seeds are finely ground.  Add cilantro and olive oil and puree until smooth.
   
Cut steak into 6 pieces.  Using hands, generously cover meat all over with marinade and roll each piece up into a cylinder.  Arrange rolled steaks in a shallow pan and pour on remaining marinade.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
   
About 30 minutes before cooking, remove meat from refrigerator.  Unroll steaks and place on a platter.  Heat the grill or broiler to very hot. 
   
Cook steaks just until seared on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare.  (Or pan fry in a hot cast-iron skillet lightly coated with oil.)  Transfer cooked steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.  Then slice across the grain into diagonal strips and then dice.  (Tough, yet flavorful steaks like this should always be cut across the grain so that no one bite will contain too much muscle.)  Serve immediately on corn tortillas, topped with Salsa Fresca, and Border Guacamole.

Salsa Fresca

Makes 2 cups, or 6 appetizer servings with chips

4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1/4 red onion, minced
2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Stir and toss well, and serve.  Store in a covered container in the refrigerator no more than 1 day.

Border Guacamole

5 ripe California avocados, preferably Hass
6 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 medium red onion, diced
4 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut the avocados into quarters.  Remove the seeds, peel, and place in a mixing bowl.  Mash with a potato masher or fork until chunky.  Add the remaining ingredients and combine with a fork.  Serve immediately.

Copyright © 2012, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, www.bordergrill.com.


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