A fusion of Asian and Mexican flavours, these tacos should be illegal. What makes these work so well is the tight and perfect fit between the sweet and crunchy exterior of the meat which is married with the sweet tang of the papaya-mango lime salsa and the creaminess of the guacamole, both of which infuse a bit more lime into each bite (recipes for both are linked throughout). Given the the gluten-free aims of the household, these are served on hard-shelled corn tacos — but if you prefer, soft-shelled corn would also work. And, yes, flour tortillas would also pass but you will be giving up an integral part of the crunch and the nuttiness from the corn.
There are a number of keys to making this otherwise very simple recipe gain flight. First, the marinade will take the toughest of flank steaks and turn it into tenderloin. I’m serious: 24-30 hours infuses deep flavours and breaks down the sinews into delicious morsels. Second, grill the meat high and fast: 450-500°F will sear in the beef’s juices. Third, the lime — so crucial to pairing with the sweetness that delicately layers each part of this dish is ‘inserted’ into the pairings. Trust me, they work together in sweet harmony (choose your favourite musical duet as metaphor). I like mine with a bit of grated sharp cheddar and crème fraîche as well — but take it from Anne who says these extravagances are unnecessary and, in her opinion, cloud the perfect simplicity of the perfect taco.
Bonus: Most of the work for this can be done the night before and the prep time includes making the salsa and guacamole.
If you can resist eating the succulent steak alone — or don’t, because it is a great main on it’s own as well — you’re in for a summer treat which I guarantee you will become an instant classic in your home.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes
Grilled Flank Steak Tacos
- 1.5-2 lbs of flank steak
- Crème fraîche (optional)
- Sharp cheddar, grated (optional)
- Papaya-Mango Lime Salsa (see recipe)
- Guacamole (see recipe)
- 18 hard-shelled corn tortillas
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a lime)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 teaspoon chili sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Place all marinade ingredients together in a food processor or blender and blend till smooth.
- Place steak in either a glass bowl (with lid) or in large ziplock bag and pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for 24-30 hours (overnight). Turn morning and afternoon to ensure even marinading.
- Prepare Papaya-Mango Lime Salsa (see recipe here).
- Prepare Guacamole Cruda (see recipe here).
- Preheat grill to 450-500°F.
- Remove steak from marinade but let the marinade cling to steak. Lay it flat on the grill.
- For medium to medium-rare, cook it for 12 minutes following these directions: Grill for 3 minutes, then give the steak a quarter turn and cook for 3 more minutes; turn it over and cook for 6 more minutes. For pure medium, cook 7 minutes per side.
- Remove from grill and let rest of cutting board for 10 minutes. This is important to prevent all the juices from running out of the steak!
- Meanwhile, prepare the tacos with optional cheese on bottom followed by guacamole and optional
- Thinly slice the steak against the bias — if you’re not sure what this means, it means against the grain: opposite to the strands that make up the steak. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a very tough piece of meat.
- Layer 2-3 pieces of meat on top of the guacamole and top with a tablespoon of salsa.
Serve with a great wheat ale like McAuslan’s Apricot Wheat Ale.
Makes about 18 tacos — which should feed 6-8 people, depending on what else you