It's safe to say that tacos are one of my favorite foods. No matter how hard I try to shake up my weekly dinner routine, tacos somehow end up in the rotation in some way, shape or form. But that right there is the beauty of tacos! There are infinite ways to cook and eat them that you could quite possibly never end up bored.
When it comes to finding my next favorite taco recipe, my mind wanders to the authentic tacos I've tried straight out of taco trucks. To me, there's really nothing better than having some greasy, delicious tacos from something as modest and simple as a food truck. Some of my favorite tacos are carne asada tacos served simply with lime juice, white onions and cilantro on a corn tortilla where the juicy, flavorful carne asada is the true star. Served on a paper plate with a horchata to wash it down, it's best enjoyed standing up and in a convenient store parking lot.
While I wish I could eat straight from a food truck every day of the week (because I honestly could), I thought I'd bring the food truck home in my next taco making venture with my own spin on juicy carne asada tacos.
Carne Asada, as the name suggests, is really all about the beef. My thinking was reaffirmed when I glanced at a few other favorite chef's own spin on carne asada, using ingredients that really accentuate and highlight the beef while adding layers upon layers of flavor. My marinade for carne asada uses expected ingredients like lots of fresh lime juice, chipotles and smoky adobo sauce and adds a few unexpected umami bombs like fish sauce and soy sauce. It makes for one tender, juicy steak that's primed and ready for taco assembly.
In true taco truck fashion, my toppings also had to be spot on to compliment such perfect carne asada. A simple white onion, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeno "relish", if you will, avocado slices, crunchy and cooling radish slices and salty cotija cheese finish these babies off in colorful fashion. It's as beautiful of a taco as it is scrumptious, and just another example of why tacos are quite possibly the perfect food. Happy taco feasting, my friends!
Carne Asada Tacos
Inspired and adapted generously by "The Best Carne Asada" from The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt
For the carne asada:
- 1.5-2 pound flat iron or flank steak
- Juice of three limes
- 4 chipotles in adobo
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from chipotle can)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the taco assembly:
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- Juice of one lime
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Avocado slices
- Thinly sliced radishes
- Crumbled cotija
Combine lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, chipotles, adobo sauce, cumin, coriander, whole garlic cloves, salt and pepper in a large measuring cup if using an immersion blender, or straight in the blender. Blend until smooth. Pour over steak and marinate for at least 2 hours if not up to overnight.
Heat a grill over medium high heat. Grill steak for 5 minutes a side for a medium rare steak. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes. While steak rests, combine onion, lime juice, jalapeno and salt in a small bowl. Slice steak against the grain and serve in warmed tortillas with onion mixture, avocado slices, radishes and crumbled cotija.