I’m hosting a dinner later this month for two of my favorite friends and their significant others. I have agonized over what to serve since I knew that March was my month to host. I thought about doing corned beef, but it’s really not my favorite food and if I’m going to cook for other people, I really want to like what I’m cooking. I thought about fodue, but I ALWAYS mess up cheese sauce (unless it is velveeta, then I’m good). I thought about a three-course Italian meal, but I didn’t want to spend all my visiting time prepping the next course. So, I went simple. Taco Bar. I mean, who doesn’t love tacos? I’ll be serving my Chicken Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Salsa. I’ll also be serving pork Barbacoa tacos and I’ll whip up this Carne Asada recipe. All of these can be prepared before and just warmed before serving, except the Asada. It needs to be grilled right before serving – of course allowing the meat time to rest before slicing. But cooking this meat is the easy part. All the real work is in the marinade, and it is done the day before.
To prepare the marinade, juice 2 limes, smash 3 cloves of garlic and add cilantro, onion, salt pepper, beer, cumin and chile flake. Mix together in a zip top bag, add your meat and refrigerate overnight. Pull it out a half hour before you are ready to cook. If it’s warm enough (or you’re brave enough), fire up your outdoor grill. If not, heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over high heat until it is smoking hot. Cook the meat for 5-7 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Don’t mess with it too much. You want it to develop some nice browning.
Let this rest for 5 minutes. Then, slice thinly and across the grain. Serve on grilled corn tortillas with cheese, cilantro and salsa or whatever else you like to top your tacos with.
1/2 cup beer
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
pinch chile flake
2 pounds flank steak
Juice limes into a gallon sized zip top bag. Add beer, smashed garlic, cilantro, onion, salt, pepper, cumin and chile flake. Add flank steak to bag and seal, removing as much air as possible. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove meat from refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking. Heat grill or cast iron on high until very hot. Cook meat for 5-7 minutes per side, until desired doneness. Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain.
Remember my recipe for delicious, healthy and beautiful lentils with butternut squash and kale? Turns out I’m not the only person who thinks kale and butternut squash are a fantastic fall combination. The Pioneer Woman herself posted a recipe for butternut squash and kale today. My mom always said great minds think alike! That, however, is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to share with you the recipe for the salmon I served with that dish. Simple, refreshing, flavorful and healthy. This is one of my go to proteins – especially on nights when I just don’t really want to cook.
If you don’t mind the skin on your salmon, leave it on. If you can buy skinless filets, do that. My grocery store only sells fresh filets with the skin on, so I’ve got to skin mine. I also check for and pull any pinbones. I don’t want my babies, or my husband, choking. Then, I just toss the little liquid soaking thing from the tray and put my fish back in that tray to marinate. Zest a lime and an orange and then squeeze the juice from half of each over the salmon filets. Let marinate for no more than 30 minutes.
Season one side with Cajun seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s) and place seasoned side down in a hot non-stick skillet. Sprinkle unseasoned side with some more Cajun seasoning. Cook for 3-5 minutes until nice and brown. Flip and cook until desired doneness. My husband freaks out if I cook this anything less than well done. Shame, really.
Serve with practically any side. My favorites are a big leafy green salad or some roasted asparagus or, of course, my lentils with butternut squash and kale.
4 salmon filets
1 teaspoon lime zest
1-2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2-3 Tablespoons orange juice
1/2-1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
Remove skin and pinbones from salmon filets. Mix together lime zest, lime juice, orange zest and orange juice. Pour over salmon filets.
While salmon marinates, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet.
When oil is hot, season one side of salmon with Cajun seasoning. Place seasoned side down in hot skillet and season other side. Cook 3-4 minutes until browned. Flip and cook to desired doneness.