How to make fajitas with seasonal veggies and marinated steak

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By: Mary Ann Lienhart Cross
lienhart@purdue.edu

Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross

Now is a great time of year to make the most of all the fresh vegetables like the wonderful colored peppers, onions, squash, tomatoes and even sweet corn and make fajitas.

Fajitas are best when everything is fresh, but I think they are always tasty. What I like about fajitas is the blending of flavors of all the vegetables and the seasoning that you put with them.

Traditional fajitas, as I have been told, start with a flank steak. The most popular cut for well-marinated fajitas (Texas marinated barbecued steak) is the skirt steak.

Both the flank and skirt are good choices — they both come from the belly-side between the front leg and the hind quarter. These cuts of meat are less tender, have no waste, need to be seasoned and need to be cut thin, as they are not tender. If you plan ahead and allow enough time, the marinating will not only flavor the meat but tenderize the meat as well.

When you think about seasoning the meat, you can really use whatever seasoning you like — just open the cupboard and think about creating some flavors that you like.

We recently created two great flank steaks that were then grilled. Several hours before, I mixed 1 tablespoon of garlic and ginger paste with 1 tablespoon of ground horseradish and a tablespoon of Tabasco. We then added some red wine vinegar.

I divided the mixture in fourths and used a small paring knife to lightly score the steaks on both sides. The seasoning was rubbed in on each side and then the steaks were placed in a plastic bag.

The grill was hot and the steaks were cooked about 7 to 10 minutes on one side and then flipped. The friends I was cooking with were agreeable to the flank steak being on the rare to medium side and it was excellent. I will be honest and share that while we were slicing it we were sampling and the sampling was tasty!

While the meat was grilling, we had a large skillet on medium high heat with a little oil and 8 or more cups of sliced peppers, onions, mushrooms, and squash.

While all of these vegetables were cooking I added some salsa to the vegetables for added flavor. We stopped cooking them when they were just tender.

Next, the tortillas were tossed in the cast iron skillet for a few seconds on each side and then placed in the oven to keep them warm. The best part is assembling and creating your own fajitas with as much filling as you like, and then of course eating.

In case you’re wondering, this is not neat and tidy eating; you need several napkins.

Fajitas are great to make with friends. Since most people often want to bring food, you can have someone provide the seasoned steak (or other meat, be it pork or chicken).

Others can bring the sliced vegetables or just bring the vegetables whole; it doesn’t take long for several hands to get the vegetables all sliced up. Another guest can bring the tortillas. I like corn tortillas and the ones flavored with things like sun dried tomatoes, the green vegetable tortillas, or wheat.

Another guest can bring the dessert, but from my experience you will want to keep it light because after a vegetable stuffed fajita or two you won’t want or need a lot of dessert. So, enjoy some fajitas!

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