Ingredients: garlic, onion, black pepper, cumin, lemon peel,, oregano, parsley, chiles. SALT FREE!
Our growing fascination with the history of cuisines has us becoming more curious about some of our own regional dishes from here in the US. In our country Texans are very proud of their authentic regional cuisine (I know because I married one of those proud Texans), and for the last twenty years or so Tex-Mex foods have gone from being a fad to a relatively common dish from coast to coast. Some might even liken it to a comfort food.
Fajitas are a dish that made the once under appreciated skirt steak into a restaurant menu rock star. But it’s humble beginning was from early cattle roundups where it was a common practice for the beef to be butchered on the trail in order to feed the hands. The toss away pieces like the hide, head, tails and less desirable meat trimmings like the skirt were given to the Mexican cowboys as part of their pay. It was these Mexican cowboys who perfected the cooking of the skirt steak.
In 1993 Texas Monthly contributing editor John Morthland wrote an article on the history of the fajita and he said the modern day version debuted in 1969 at the Round-Up restaurant in Pharr, Texas located in the Rio Grande Valley. These fajitas were served on a sizzling platter with warm flour tortillas and a heaping of fresh condiments – pico de gallo, guacamole and shredded cheese – perfect for making your own tacos. We also love to use a wide variety of salsas on on our fajitas.
With the increase in fajita's popularity it became less likely that skirt steak was the only cut of meat used to make fajitas. Soon Tex-Mex restaurants started substituting other cuts of meat which eventually led to the addition of other grilled meat like chicken, pork and shrimp.
To make the perfect fajita marinade mix 2-3 tablespoons of fajita seasoning with 2/3 cup vegetable oil and 1/3 cup vinegar (or the juice from 3 freshly squeezed limes). Pour marinade over 3 lbs of thin strips (1/2” to 1” thick) of skirt, flank or round steak, chicken or pork and marinate in the refrigerator 4-8 hours . For shrimp we like to marinate for 30 minutes to two hours. We like to marinate in large plastic re-sealable bags.
You can either pan cook or grill the meat. If you decide to grill the meat we like to cut the meat after cooking so marinate larger pieces. We also like to sprinkle a bit more seasoning over the meat during the cooking process. For the best flavor serve with cooked onions and green peppers (add right into the serving pan). Use a small preheated cast-iron skillet to serve and just before taking to the table squeeze fresh lemon juice over the meat (this gives the sizzle). For a healthier alternative serve with whole wheat tortillas, low fat sour cream, reduced fat Mexican shredded cheese, fresh pico de gallo and Guacamole.
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