Although New York City excels at recreating almost every kind of ethnic cuisine, there is one that often falls short of authentic: Mexican. This seems strange given the overwhelming population of Mexicans working in kitchens throughout the city, joining the ranks of the city’s finest butchers, hot line cooks, sous-chefs and ultimately, full-fledged chefs, few of whom are plating up tamales and enchiladas. Instead they are working at high-end French, Italian, “New American” and even Japanese restaurants where the average entrée comes in at about $30. While there are a handful of somewhat satisfying Mexican joints in Manhattan, (La Esquina, Zarellas and Mercadito) the food caters to those with a limited knowledge of true Mexican cuisine and a willingness to splurge. If you want a decent taco or burrito, head for the boroughs, where you’ll find versions at a quarter of the price. Or if you’re not up for a commute, here’s a recipe you can try at home.
Skirt Steak Tacos with Fresh Corn and Tomatillo Salsa Serves 4
1 pound skirt steak, cut in half (to fit pan)
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 corn tortillas
3 ears of corn, husked
1 bunch green onions, the whites and light greens chopped into thin rounds
1 jalepeno pepper, deveined, seeded and minced
Pinch of cayenne
1 small bunch cilantro, stems removed
3 tablespoons oven-roasted tomatillo salsa
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Warm the tortillas in aluminum foil. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Then marinate it in two to three spoonfuls of the adobo sauce, one chopped up chipotle pepper, the juice from half of a lime and one tablespoon olive oil. Set aside. Next, over a large bowl cut the corn kernels from the cob with a serrated knife. In a large cast iron frying pan heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the corn, stirring occasionally until it begins to blacken. Toss it with the green onions, jalapeño, cilantro, remaining lime juice and a pinch of cayenne. Salt and pepper to taste. Rinse out the pan and put it back on the stovetop with the remaining tablespoon olive oil on high heat. Sear the steak until brown, about five minutes on each side. Remove it from the heat and cover the steak tightly with aluminum foil on top of a cutting board to finish cooking, another ten minutes. Slice thinly and distribute among the tortillas. Top with corn mixture and garnish with the tomatillo salsa.