I call these fajitas, but are they actually tacos? Perhaps they’re a little of both. What’s the difference, you may ask.
Very generally speaking, fajitas are traditionally made with grilled meat, often skirt steak, or chicken and sauteed peppers and onions. The ingredients are presented deconstructed, ready for assembly in soft flour tortillas. Tacos traditionally include ground meat, lettuce, tomato and cheese assembled in a fried corn tortilla. As for similarities, both fajitas and tacos include salsa, guacamole, sour cream and cheese as optional accompaniments.
Now, depending on the region of origin, the cook and everyone’s (naturally correct) opinion, all sorts of variations abound. So, with that caveat, I suggest that this recipe with grilled skirt steak and flour tortillas leans more to a fajita … with a spin. In this version, the grilled onions and peppers are missing. In place, a fresh and chunky black bean and corn salsa is added. And don’t worry — all the usual accompaniments, such as guacamole, tomato salsa, sour cream and cheese are included as well.
Skirt Steak Fajitas
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5- or 6-inch pieces
Black Bean and Corn Salsa:
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
Corn kernels from one ear of fresh corn (or 1 cup defrosted frozen corn)
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Soft flour tortillas, warmed
Optional garnishes: tomato salsa or pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese, fresh cilantro, lime wedges
Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl.
Place the skirt steak in a baking dish. Pour the marinade over the steak and turn to coat. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight, turning once or twice. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
Combine all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning. Refrigerate until serving.
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat. Remove the skirt steak from the marinade and grill over direct heat 6 to 8 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the steaks against the grain in thin strips.
Serve the steak with warm tortillas, the black bean and corn salsa, and other toppings, such as guacamole, tomato salsa, cilantro sprigs, sour cream and lime wedges.
Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.