I have a thing recently with making little strips of meat crispy. Remember?
I’m very serious about the crispy meat. There’s just something really sexy about it.
So, last week I made these tacos. They’re WONDERFUL, and incredibly simple, and it’s a huge toss-up as to whether the crispy beef or cilantro crema is the best part. Total tie. The best thing is that they go really well TOGETHER, and since we cut the beef into little bits the whole thing is done in zero time. Zero.
Let’s make the cilantro crema first so it can sit and the flavors can meld while we make the steak. You can also make this in advance! You just need mayo, sour cream, green onion, jalapeno, garlic, lime, and cilantro.
Cut the veg into little bits so that it doesn’t wreck the food processor. I used half the jalapeno and it was still pretty hot, but you can use the whole thing if 1. you’re obsessed with burning your tongue or 2. your jalapeno isn’t too spicy. They’re all different!
Zest the lime directly into the bowl of the food processor. Then squeeze half of it into the food processor, and save the other half for the tacos. Add the rest of the ingredients, and pulse until you make a dressing. Taste it, and add more lime juice or a sprinkle of salt if you think it needs it. Set the dressing aside while you get to work on the beef.
For the tacos, you need beef! Any kind of steak you like – it doesn’t need to be fancy since we’re cutting it super duper thin. To flavor the meat, salt, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Now, we slice the meat before we cook it, and I find that it’s really easy to slice the meat when it’s SUPER cold, so I stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes, then slice it as thinly as I can, almost shaving it.
Now, use your fingers to mix the spices into the meat, and let the meat sit while you preheat a pan to medium-high for at least 10 minutes with some olive oil.
While the meat rests and the pan heats up, grab anything that you’d like for the tacos. I don’t make them too crazy because the meat and the sauce are both so great. Taco shells, plain cabbage, lime wedges, and extra jalapeno for the spicy people are plenty!
Now, when the pan for the beef is ridiculously hot (key for the crispy bits we’re going after), add some butter to the pan. When the butter foams and starts to brown, add the meat in one layer – don’t crowd the pan! It won’t get crispy if you do. You might need to cook the beef in a few batches.
I know they’re simple, but these are absolutely delicious, and very special even though you don’t need to spend a ton on fancy steak. The butter and spices work together on the meat and perfection is just HAPPENING with these.
- FOR THE CILANTRO LIME CREMA
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 green onion, cut into pieces
- 1/2 small jalapeno, cut into chunks
- 1 clove peeled garlic
- zest plus juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- salt, to taste
- FOR THE TACOS
- 1 pound thin-cut steak such as shoulder tender, very cold (I stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes before using)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- taco shells, lime wedges, and anything else you'd like to serve with the tacos
- For the crema, combine all ingredients in a small blender or food processor. Pulse to puree and taste: add salt or more lime juice to your taste.
- Turn a large skillet to medium-high heat with the olive oil. For the steak, very thinly slice the steak into strips against the grain. Sprinkle with the spices and let sit for a few minutes while the pan preheats. When the pan is very hot, add the butter. When the butter melts and foams, add the steak in one layer (not too close together, you might need to cook a few batches of meat) and let cook for 3 minutes until the bottom is brown and crispy. Flip the steak and let cook for 2-3 minutes on the second side until the meat is crispy and nearly cooked through. Repeat with the remaining meat, if necessary.
- Build tacos as you like with the beef and cilantro sauce. Enjoy!