Mint is a nearly global herb (genus: Mentha) with native species occurring on every continent except Antarctica and oddly enough, South America. It is found in almost every culture's cuisine and is one of the rare herbs that works to flavor both sweet and savory dishes. Fresh mint can be found easily at almost every market in America, year round. I know I take it for granted, and I'll be you do to.
Mint and Lamb dance together like a pair of Olympic ice skaters, but I wanted Carne Asada tacos, and I knew some of that mint-y green freshness would pick them up nicely. The mint plays well with the earthyness of the cumin and the heat from the cayenne. It elevates the flavor of the beef and really brings it out.
With an extra pair of hands I whipped these up in about 20 minutes. There is really no trick except warming up the corn tortillas properly so that they stay pliable, which I messed up, but I will do better next time.
- 1 pound skirt steak, flank will do or really anything, it doesn't matter - they're for tacos
- 2-3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1 large pile of chopped iceberg or Romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup minced mint
- 1 package of corn tortillas, sometimes flour will suffice but today is not one of them
- 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
- 1 -2 teaspoons ground cayenne
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- about 1 tablespoon each of salt and ground black pepper
- standby with your favorite hot sauce
Mix the salt, pepper, and spices in a bowl and coat both sides of the meat well with them, rubbing then in a little bit for good measure. Talk to them. Tell them how delicious they're going to be. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and then in foil and place them in the oven at 200 - you can use the toaster oven too, we did.
Over high heat in a grill pan or skillet (yes, you could use a BBQ but it was February in California and must have been a miserable 55 degrees out there!) - place the meat on and get a good sizzle going. Cook the meat to medium, about 3 minutes per side.
Have all your accouterments ready for assembly and ready to go. When the meat comes off give it a few minutes to rest, and be sure to slice it against the grain. Pull the tortillas a out and start making tacos! Sprinkle on the mint last so that it is on top of everything, its aromatics will hit your nose first and it adds a nice dark green pop to the tacos.
Serve with sliced radishes. Enjoy.