Happy Cinco de Mayo!

May 5th is just around the corner… why not make something Mexican inspired for dinner?

According to history.com, “Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States.”

In our house, we use holidays from around the world to help us explore different cultures and cuisines… not armchair travel, more like kitchen chair travel. For example, in February you’ll find us making Longevity Noodles and Lion’s Head Meatballs to ring in the Chinese New Year; in March we’re off to Ireland to honor St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Stew and Soda Bread; with Fall comes Oktoberfest, and a variety of wurst, sauerkraut, and homemade pretzels. You don’t even need a holiday…. pick one night a month  and create a meal influenced by the traditional dishes of a particular state, region or country you’d like to “explore.”

For centuries people have been gathering around the table to break bread together, nurturing their bodies as well as their relationships with family and friends, old and new. Preparing and sharing a meal together, whether it’s a recipe that’s been in your family for generations, or a neighbor’s family, or a stranger’s family from the other side of the world is a beautiful way to connect with and appreciate other cultures. And who doesn’t like to eat!?!

Let’s get in the kitchen and go…

Flat Iron Steak with Grilled Cabbage and Scallions

Flat Iron Steak with Grilled Cabbage and Scallions
*adapted from Bon Appetit
February 2014

Ingredients

Steak:
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 ½ Tablespoons hot smoked Spanish paprika
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
½ Tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound flat iron steak (you can also use skirt or flank steak), cut into 2 equal pieces

Vegetables:
½ medium head of cabbage, cut into 2 wedges, core intact
½ large white onion, halved lengthwise with some root end attached
½ bunch of scallions, trimmed
1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

For Serving:
warm corn and/or flour tortillas
guacamole
salsa

Preparation:

For steak:
Puree garlic, lime juice, oil, onion, paprika, cilantro, cumin, and salt in a blender until smooth. It will resemble a thick paste. Transfer steak to shallow casserole or baking dish. Top with marinade, spreading all over. Turn to coat other side of the steaks as well. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
*Can also be marinated 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

For vegetables and assembly:
Prepare grill, griddle, or grill pan over medium high heat. Drizzle cabbage, white onion, and scallions with 1 Tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until vegetables are charred and softened, about 4 minutes for scallions, 10-12 minutes for cabbage and onion. Let vegetables cool slightly.

Core cabbage and cut into bite-size pieces along with scallions and onion. Toss chopped vegetables in a large bowl with red onion, lime juice, cilantro, and remaining ½ tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.

Remove steaks from marinade, scraping off excess; season with salt and pepper. Grill steak until medium rare, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve steak with vegetables, tortillas, guacamole, and salsa.

Here are the ingredients for marinade.
Gather ingredients for marinade.
After a whiz in the blender, you'll end up with a thick paste.
After a whiz in the blender, you’ll end up with a thick paste.
After cutting the flat iron into 2 pieces, place it a casserole or ziploc bag.  Coat with marinade.  Make sure to do both sides!
Cut the flat iron into 2 pieces, place it a casserole or ziploc bag. Coat with marinade. Make sure to do both sides!  I used a flat iron steak because that was what was available at my grocery store. Skirt steak was called for in the original recipe; flank steak would work just as well. Chicken or even shrimp would be delicious though be aware cooking times would change.
After coating both sides, cover casserole or seal bag and chill (you and the meat!) for at least 4 hours or overnight.
After coating both sides, cover casserole or seal bag and chill (you and the meat!) for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Time to gather the vegetables.
Time to gather the vegetables.
Veggies are prepped, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Be sure cabbage sections have core intact and onion quarters have a little bit of root left to hold them together.
Veggies are prepped, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Be sure cabbage sections have core intact and onion quarters have a little bit of root left to hold them together.
Onto a preheated griddle (or grill), set on medium high heat.
Onto a preheated griddle (or grill), set on medium high heat.
Flip them over to char other side.  Scallions are already done. Cabbage and onion will need some more time.  They should be tender, but still have some crunch.
Flip them over to char other side. Scallions are already done. Cabbage and onion will need some more time. They should be tender, but still have some crunch.
Perfect!  Ready to come off.
Perfect! Ready to come off.
Set aside the veggies to cool while you get ready to cook the steak.
Set aside the veggies to cool while you get ready to cook the steak.
Scrape excess marinade off the meat and discard.  Remember to do both sides.
Scrape excess marinade off the meat and discard. Remember to do both sides.
Season with salt and pepper and place under the broiler or over a grill set on medium high heat.  As you can see, I put mine under the broiler, it had just come out of the fridge, so took about 5 minutes per side for medium rare.
Season with salt and pepper and place under the broiler or over a grill set on medium high heat. As you can see, I put mine under the broiler; it had just come out of the fridge, so took about 5 minutes per side for medium rare.
While the meat is cooking, chop your veggies and place in a serving bowl. Toss with red onion, lime, cilantro, olive oil, salt and pepper.
While the meat is cooking, chop your veggies and place in a serving bowl. Toss with red onion, lime, cilantro, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Remove your meat from the oven or grill, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.  Remember to cut across the grain.
Remove your meat from the oven or grill, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing, cutting across the grain.
Serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, and salsa.
Serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, and salsa.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s