Packaged seaweed makes a perfect base for beefy tacos
Can you handle just one more Asian-fusion taco? You’re rolling your eyes. I know. But what if it’s one that’s easy enough and delicious enough to truly be worth making at home?
Truth is, most of the popular Tex-Mex-Asian blends have been produced in food trucks and brick-and-mortar joints that are far flung from most Americans (because, though Los Angeles and New York City hate to admit it, the vast majority of our country doesn’t live in either city). The result is that most folks only get to read about the deliciousness that is Asian flavors packaged in a Tex-Mex-friendly delivery system.
So my goal was to break down those flavors into something easily reproduced at home. And so I give you the beefy seaweed taco with jalapeno-jicama slaw.
Let’s start with the beefy. For a bold steaky flavor, I went with flank. But I wanted as much Asian savory goodness as possible, so rather than cook it whole, we thinly slice it across the grain, then give it a bath in a blend of fish sauce, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. It takes just a couple minutes in the pan to give us the sear we want.
The steak gets piled on top of that ubiquitous green of lower rung sushi joints — seaweed salad. You know you love it, even if it is dyed fluorescent green. You’ll find it at most Asian markets (and many natural foods grocers sell noncolored versions). On top of that goes a quick slaw made from crunchy jicama tossed with citrus juice and jalapenos. The whole thing comes together with a bit of cheese and you’re done. You’ll thank me on Taco Tuesdays.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press.
Tacos with Jalapeno-Jicama Slaw
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound flank steak
1 cup jicama, cut into matchsticks
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Eight 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
8 ounces (about 1 cup) seaweed salad
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or blanco cheese
Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and the sugar. Slice the steak across the grain into very thin strips, then add to the fish sauce mixture. Toss to coat evenly, then set aside for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, toss together the jicama and jalapenos, then add the orange and lime juices. Toss again to coat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Stack the tortillas and wrap them in foil. Set the packet in the oven to warm.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Use tongs to remove the meat from the marinade, letting as much liquid as possible drip off back into the bowl and reserving the marinade. Transfer the steak strips to paper towels and lightly pat dry. Add the dried steak strips to the skillet and cook only until just barely seared, about 1 minute.
Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved marinade in the bowl, then add the mixture to the skillet and cook for another minute, or just until bubbling and thickened.
To assemble the tacos, remove the warmed tortillas from the oven. Down the center of each, spread a spoonful of the seaweed salad, then top with strips of steak (with some of the pan sauce). Top with jicama-jalapeno slaw, then finish with sprinkle of the cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Per serving: 510 calories; 24 g fat (7 g saturated fat; 41 percent calories from fat); 44 g carbohydrates; 11 g sugar; 85 mg cholesterol; 2,390 mg sodium; 34 g protein; 7 g fiber.
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