Garden-Fresh Fajitas

August 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

This time of year, when the garden is bursting with produce (whether it’s been properly weeded throughout the summer or not), I always look for dishes that would help me maximize the use of its fruits. Indeed, just about everything is in season right now, including these beautiful peppers:

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It was because of these peppers that I chose this pepper-onion fajita recipe from the wonderful Fine Cooking magazine – I was really seduced by its simplicity, and by the fact that, with the exception of cilantro, every single vegetable in it was currently ripe in my garden – namely, pretty red and green bell peppers, succulent tomatoes, red onions, and jalapenos. The garlic and the (grassfed, in my case) New York strip steaks also called for here came from my farm as well, and I just love recipes that allow me to utilize what I already have on hand. Also, Jacob loves Mexican overtones and lots of color on his plate, so I knew it was gonna be a nice break for him, given that I normally gravitate towards often monochromatic, creamy Russian dishes like this and this.

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So you start with two New York strip steaks that your rub with a mixture of 1/4 t black pepper, 1/4 t cumin, 1/2 T coarse salt, and a pinch of cayenne (per steak). The resulting meat is perhaps a tad too spicy (for me) to be had on its own (unless you are considering a cumin-and-cayenne-spiked twist on steak au poivre), but the spiciness melds wonderfully with everything in the end (after the steak has been thinly sliced and tossed with the veggies, cilantro, and lime juice).

You then heat some oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until just about smoking, place the steaks in, and cook them for 3 min on the first side and 2 min on the second. I found this to be a perfect amount of time and heat to cook my 3/4-inch-thick grassfed New York Strips to that magical point between medium and medium-rare when they are at their tenderest.

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This is what it will look like.

Next, remove it from heat, transfer it to a cutting board, cover it with tin foil, and let it rest (something you’d want to do with all steaks). Meanwhile, use the skillet with all of the accumulated fat to saute the veggies.

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Next, return your skillet, fat and all, to medium heat, and use it to saute sliced onions (I used 2 small red onions) and peppers (using several colors makes your dish that much cuter) until sort of tender (but I like for them to retain a little bit of crunch). The onions will be pretty caramelized by now. At this point, you add a minced clove of garlic and a minced (seeded and cored) jalapeno. Stir it in and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.

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Remove the skillet from heat and add a squirt of lime or lemon juice, scraping all the flavorful brown bits in the process.

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Now trim your now-rested steak of the fat that runs along one of the sides, and slice it pretty thinly – 1/4 to 1/8″ thick (or shall I say “thin”), after which toss it right into the (now off-heat) skillet with the vegetables.

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Add a handful of coarsely-chopped cilantro…

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Toss everything together…

Pile into a warm tortilla with some diced fresh tomatoes (or salsa), sour cream, and a slice of avocado (if desired), roll it up, and go right for it. To please my husband, I also served this with rice and refried beans.

You can find the complete printable recipe here, on the Fine Cooking website.

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