Carne Asada Tampiqueña
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
This complete meal is inspired by a traditional dish from Mexico City’s Tampico Club from 1939. Allow at least 8 hours to marinate the steak. If you wish you can also make the sweet jalapeño pickles the day before, as well.
2½ pounds skirt steak, cut into 1-inch thick slices, cut across the grain
4 cups dark (obscura) beer, Negra Modelo preferred
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly crushed black peppercorns
Pepper Rajas in Tomatillo, Eggplant, and Onion Salsa:
5 fresh poblano chili peppers (about ¾ pound), peeled and sliced
1½ pounds Japanese or thin eggplant (about 4), unpeeled
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 very large red onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (about 1⅓ cups)
6 tomatillos, husked and cut into quarters
1 teaspoon freshly toasted cumin seeds (see Kitchen Tip), ground
2 teaspoons dried epazote or 4 teaspoons fresh epazote, chopped
¼ cup Brown Veal Stock or low-sodium store-bought beef broth
Quick Sweet Jalapeño Pickles:
2 very large or 4 small jalapeño peppers, seeded and julienned
1 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Spanish or yellow onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
6 cloves garlic, peeled, cut in half and green centers discarded
1½ cups cooked (or canned) pinto or black beans, rinsed in cold water and drained well
3 cups Brown Veal Stock or low-sodium store-bought beef broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Zest of 1 lime
Leaves of 6 fresh oregano sprigs
2 heads romaine lettuce, torn into ½- to ¾-inch shreds
4 large radishes, sliced thinly
½ cup pitted, chopped oil-cured green olives (about 12 olives)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
12 fresh corn tortillas
4 ripe Hass avocados
- Place the steak and beer in a large resealable plastic bag, and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Start the pepper salsa: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the poblanos and eggplants lightly with a little olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until tender but not browned. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Meanwhile, make the quick jalapeño pickles: Using gloves, cut the jalapeños in half and remove the seeds and ribs, Cut into thin julienne. Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a nonreactive container and stir. Add the jalapeño strips, cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. (If you would like to do this ahead of time, they will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 day and remain crunchy.)
- Make the beans: Heat the oil in a wide saucepan set over high heat until it shimmers. Add the white onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until translucent and browned on the edges. Add the garlic and beans and stir. Some of the beans will fall apart, but don’t mash them. Add the stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring to blend. Add the lime zest and stir until incorporated. The beans should be a bit mushy but still have some intact beans. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer until ready to serve. Stir in the remaining salt.
- Make the pepper salsa: Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until translucent. Add the tomatillo, cumin, and epazote, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally while you cut up the poblanos and eggplants.
- Remove the skin and seeds of the poblanos and cut into 1-inch wide strips. Add to the onion and tomatillo mixture, stir, and continue cooking. Rub the eggplant with paper towels to remove any burned skin. Cut into 1-inch tube shapes. Add to the pepper mixture and stir. Add the ¼ cup beef broth, stir, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the eggplant and tomatillos are cooked through completely.
- Make the salad: Place the lettuce, radishes, and olives in a bowl and toss gently to combine.
- Prepare the steak: Heat a grill to high heat. Drain the meat and place the pieces on the scorchingly hot grill, cut side down, in a single layer—without crowding the grill at all. Sear for 45 seconds to 1 minute and turn with tongs, searing on the other side. Remove and place on a small rimmed baking sheet or bowl. Work in batches if necessary.
- Cover the tortillas with a lightly moistened paper towels and heat on the grill (or in a microwave, covered with moistened towels), two at a time, for 20 to 25 seconds. They will be very hot.
- To assemble, peel, pit, and cut the avocado into ½ inch thick slices (see Kitchen Tips). Place into a bowl, drizzle with lime juice, and toss very gently to coat, to prevent browning. Sprinkle the salad with the salt, drizzle with the oil and lime juice, and toss gently to coat. Place 2 tortillas on the side of each of 6 plates. Divide the steak evenly between the plates and distribute equal portions of beans, pepper rajas, jalapeños and salad around each portion. Sprinkle the oregano over the beans.
- To toast spices, pour the ground or whole seeds into a frying pan or cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Toast for 10 to 20 seconds, or up to 1 minute, until fragrant. Watch carefully so the spices do not burn.
- The avocado contains a large round pit that can be awkward to remove. Here is one way that is especially good if you need to slice it: With a sharp knife, cut around the avocado lengthwise (you won’t be able cut straight through because of the pit). With a hand on each half, twist the halves in opposite directions to detach them. The pit will still be firmly attached to one side. Carefully dig the blade (not the tip) of your knife into the pit and twist to remove the pit. Peel and slice the avocado. If you will be holding the avocado for any length of time, acidulate the flesh with a little lemon or lime juice to prevent it from turning brown when exposed to the air.