- Jaylea Apr 1, 2003 11:11 AM
Hello - I recently purchased one of those great cast iron skillets to make fajitas... problem is, it didn't come with directions and I don't know how to make them! I did fine with the seasoning process, but does anyone know the actual process for using the cast iron to cook fajitas? I stumbled my way through the first time, and, while good, they were certainly not authentic tasting at all!
Also - does anyone have a great receipe for the seasoning? I would love to try it!
Thanks in advance!
I'm not an expert but from what I understand you grill the meat, slice it and then through it into the pan with the vegetables for serving. The pan having been super-heated.
I use mine this way, giving the peppers and onions a light saute first. I take one of the grates off my range and place it on the table to set the pan on, but your pan probably came with one of those wooden holders.
If you're talking about those shallow oval skillets with the wooden holders that you see fajitas served on at most Mexican restaurants (and an awful lot of chains such as Chili's and TGI Friday's), those are used almost exclusively for presentation. To do it right, start out by putting the skillet under the broiler and leave it there until everyone is at the table and you're ready to serve. All of the main cooking is done over a grill, preferably charcoal. Grill the steak whole (the classic fajita cut is skirt steak, although flank will work nicely too) until it's done to your liking. Take it off the grill and let it rest while you're grilling the onions and peppers. To make this part as easy as possible, slice the onion into thick rings and run two skewers through them the long way, and cut the peppers into large wedges so they don't fall through the grill. When the veggies are done, slice the meat and vegetables into thin strips. Now, take the skillet out from under the broiler (use two layers of potholders- the thing should be insanely hot by now), put the vegetables on the skillet (yes, they're going to be sizzling like crazy), and then the steak on top. If you want to get that really loud sizzle and huge column of steam and smoke you see in the restaurants, pour a bit (maybe half a cup?) of liquid into the pan once everything is on the skillet. If you marinated the steak, some of the marinade would be perfect, although just plain water or maybe chicken stock would work well too. Classic accompaniments to fajitas include good salsa (homemade is always better than bottled) and guacamole (see salsa note), although I've seen cheese and sour cream offered at the table too.
Here is a fajita recipe, with a link to a homemade (flour) tortilla recipe. I use both often. I cook the tortillas on a nonstick electric griddle -- two at a time. Were you talking about cooking the fajita meat and veggies in the new cast iron, or the tortillas? I can't give you much help with that -- this recipe has you grill or broil the skirt steak, and then cook the sliced peppers/onions/garlic in a separate skillet (your cast iron fajita pan would probably work great).
I use this recipe all the time -- the combination of fresh tortillas, the highly seasoned and tenderized skirt steak, and the sweet peppers is a hit. If your diners like it hotter, cook up some sliced jalapenos that they can scatter on their fajita separately from the bell peppers. Take the extra time to make the tortillas if you possibly can -- they are much easier than you'd think to make, and the taste is really far superior to anything you can get in a supermarket. If you have a Mexican mart nearby that you can get freshly-made-that-day tortillas, well, that's a different story :)
A couple of notes if you use this recipe: use LIME juice instead of the recommended lemon to marinate the steak, and let the tortilla dough rest for 30-60 minutes (on the counter wrapped in saran wrap is fine -- refrigeration will only make it harder to roll out) before you start rolling. If you find it very sticky and hard to roll, put it between layers of saran wrap and you'll be good to go. With only a little practice you will be making great tortillas in no time. And believe me, if this gringo from Minnesota can make yummy tortillas, you can too!
Also, I try to get the Angus pre-tenderized skirt steak, if at all possible. If I can't get the pre-tenderized kind, I pre-score it before marinating, and let it marinate overnight to have the lime juice take full effect on the meat to make it tender. I think skirt steak, when properly tenderized, has a much better flavor in this dish than flank steak. However, you can use that successfully in this recipe too, if that's all that's available.
I'm not sure exactly what your special fajita pan is, but after the meat is grilled or broiled in this recipe, rested, and then sliced, you could throw the beef strips into the fajita pan with the just-cooked peppers, toss, and bring it to the table? Is that what you were looking for?
Oh, and for some reason the flour tortilla recipe wasn't linking -- here's the link for it.