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Skirt steak from Zacatecas

August 5, 2009

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Serves 4 as a light meal

If you can get skirt steak, it will probably be trimmed (if it isn’t, pull the fat layer away from the steak with a little help from a chef’s knife). There is no reasonable substitute for this cut, so pester your butcher to get some.

1 pound skirt steak, silver skin and most of the fat trimmed away
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon salt, or more to taste
2 teaspoons black pepper, or more to taste
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons bottled red chili sauce
1 teaspoon chipotle puree, made by blending canned chipotles in adobo sauce
8 soft yellow corn tortillas (each 5 1/4 inches across)
4 radishes, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 green cabbage, very thinly sliced
1/4 large onion, very thinly sliced
1. With a mallet, pound the meat until it is a uniform 1/4-inch thick.

2. In a small, heavy pan over medium heat, cook the unpeeled garlic cloves, turning often, for 3 minutes or until they start to blacken. Cool, peel, and chop roughly.

3. In the same pan, toast the cumin seeds over medium heat, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to color. Cool and grind in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.

4. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, chili powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, cilantro, oil, red chili sauce and chipotle puree. Rub the mixture over the meat, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

5. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. When the heat is medium-high, season the steak with more salt and pepper and set it on the grill rack. Cook, turning once, for 6 minutes. Remove the meat from the grill and cut it into 1/4-inch-thick strips or dice.

6. To serve, lay the tortillas side by side, open face and overlapping on a platter. Divide the meat equally among them. Top with radishes, lime juice, cabbage, and onion. Fold and eat. Adapted from “Tacos’’