We prefer cooking flank steak to medium-rare or medium; rare flank steak tends to be overly chewy, while well-done flank steak tastes very tough. For a less spicy dish, remove some or all of the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño before chopping it for the marinade. In addition to the toppings suggested below, you can serve the tacos with thinly sliced radish or cucumber, or salsa.
–Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
Steak Tacos Recipe
Hands-On Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes | Serves 4 to 6
- For the marinade
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 medium scallions, chopped coarse
- 3 medium garlic cloves, chopped coarse
- 1 medium jalapeño chile, stemmed and chopped coarse (see Note)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime
- For the steak and tacos
- One (1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound) flank steak, trimmed and cut lengthwise (with the grain) into 4 equal pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
- Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
- Minced white onion, for serving
- 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving
- Make the marinade
- 1. Pulse the cilantro, scallions, garlic, jalapeño, and cumin together in the food processor until finely chopped, 10 to 12 pulses, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the oil and process until the mixture is smooth and resembles pesto, about 15 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the herb paste to a medium bowl, stir in the lime juice, and reserve separately until serving time.
- Make the steak and tacos
- 2. Using a dinner fork, poke each piece of steak 10 to 12 times on each side. Place the steak in a large baking dish, rub all sides of the steak pieces evenly with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and then coat with the cilantro paste. Wrap the steaks with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
- 3. Scrape the cilantro paste off the steak and sprinkle all sides of the pieces evenly with the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Heat the oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Carefully place the steak in the skillet and cook until well browned on the first side, about 3 minutes. Flip the steak and sear until well browned on the second side, about 3 minutes.
- 4. Using tongs, stand each piece on a cut side and continue cook, turning as necessary to brown all sides well, to the desired doneness, 3 to 10 minutes longer. Transfer the steak to a carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
- 5. Slice each piece of steak against the grain into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Transfer the sliced steak to the bowl with the reserved cilantro-lime mixture and toss to coat. Season the steak with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon a small amount of the sliced steak into the center of each warm tortilla and serve immediately, passing the cilantro, onion, and lime wedges separately.
Steak Tacos Recipe © 2009 Editors of Cook's Illustrated. Photo © 2009 Keller & Keller. All rights reserved.