It’s August, but fall is in the air. There is a deep chill to the mornings, while the afternoon sunlight colors everything a hazy golden hue, stretching long shadows into the garden. As if on cue, apples and pears have moved into prominent display in the markets, and school lunches are once again on our mind. The first week of school, with post-summer reunions, orientations, and a significant step into high school, has finished with success. The kids are happy; so then are the parents. I can’t think of a better excuse for a little down-home Margarita-Friday celebration, along with a fiesta-inspired dinner.
Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas
For the marinade:
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
For the Avocado Corn Salsa:
1 15-ounce can black beans drained
Corn kernels from one ear of corn
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe, but not too soft, avocado, cut in 1/4 inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Soft corn or flour tortillas
Garnishes: tomato salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice
Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place skirt steak in a shallow rimmed dish (or a zip-lock bag). Pour the marinade over the steak. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight, turning once or twice.
To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients except the avocado and cilantro in a bowl. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. (Salsa may be made in advance to this point. Cover and refrigerate). Before serving add avocado and cilantro. Gently toss to combine.
Remove steak from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Discard marinade. Grill steak over direct high heat, turning once, until desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes for medium-rare. (Or broil in oven, turning once). Transfer to cutting board and rest for 5 minutes. Cut against the grain in 1/2-inch strips.
To assemble fajitas, spoon Avocado Corn Salsa over a tortilla. Top with a few steak strips. Garnish with tomato salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Roll up and eat. Pass the napkins.