Herbed Steak Tacos with Tomato-Basil Salsa

It is no secret that we love Latin food in this house.

It is also no secret that tortillas are our favorite way to deliver the goods. I have heaps of corn and flour tortillas in my kitchen at all times.

I was perusing the internet the other day, looking for recipe inspiration, and came across a “vinaigrette” that reminded me a lot of salsa, or pico de gallo…chunky bits of tomato and onion, but instead of cilantro, they used basil, and instead of lime, they used vinegar.

Aha! I have basil and vinegar in the fridge right this very moment!

Basil salsa…could a Mediterranean-style taco be in our future?

I thought I’d make this thing work. Rub a big shoulder steak with herbs, let it marinate, and grill to medium-rare perfection.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: please get yourself a good meat tenderizer (I have this one, and it’s not a mallet). They make such a difference in the tenderness of the meat. I mean, they’re called meat tenderizers for that reason, right?

So go get one. Or have the UPS man deliver one to you.

A meat thermometer is also indispensable in my opinion – it makes perfect meat a no-brainer. No poking or prodding, no cutting into the meat while it’s still in the pan, seeing if it’s done enough…or overdone.

The UPS man can bring you one of those too. I use mine whenever I cook steaks, pork tenderloin, or anything that needs to reach a specific temperature to be perfect.

Make the salsa while the steak rests; no need to refrigerate it. The basil loses its pungency if made too far ahead. You could, I suppose, mix up the other ingredients ahead of time and throw the basil in at the last minute, if you really wanted to.

Ibérico cheese is from Spain, a mix of cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk. I love it for its stronger flavor – it stands up to the vinegared salsa nicely. You could also try Parmesan or maybe feta if Ibérico isn’t available.

Corn tortillas will work if you need gluten free! Or stuff a pita with the mix!

What a surprise these flavors were, it was like taco identity crisis! So good, and a nice change from cilantro/cumin/lime. Did I really just say that?

Closeup Herbed Steak Tacos

Herbed Steak Tacos with Tomato-Basil Salsa

Salsa adapted from finecooking.com’s Chunky Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette   

makes 8 tacos.

for the meat:

  • 1 1/4 pound beef cut of your choice (I use 1 inch thick shoulder/London Broil)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced thin

for the salsa:

  • 1/2 cup diced Roma tomatoes (seeded)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

you will also need:

  • canola oil, for grilling
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 flour tortillas, taco or fajita size
  • shaved Ibérico cheese (available in most grocery delis, El Cortijo brand seems to be widely available)

On a piece of plastic wrap, drizzle steak with oil, and rub in spices and garlic with your hands. Wrap tightly and marinate 1-2 hours, taking the meat out of the refrigerator the last 30 minutes.

When meat is ready, preheat a dry, heavy skillet or cast iron grill pan over high heat.

One at a time, grill the tortillas on one side. Keep warm in a towel.

Reduce heat to medium, and give the pan time to cool off a bit (5-10 minutes). Scrape garlic and herbs off steak (garlic is more important to remove, it will burn) and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Oil pan lightly and add steak.

Let cook, undisturbed, for 5-10 minutes. Keep any eye on the heat – you want the pan to stay decently hot for a good sear, but not so hot it overcooks the meat. When you have nice browning, flip the steak. I suggest using a meat thermometer at this point, inserted into the thickest part of the steak, until it registers 125-130°F (medium rare). This will take another 10 minutes or so.

Remove the steak to a plate, and wrap with foil. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Now make the salsa: combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Cover and set aside.

Slice meat thinly, against the grain, into strips. Assemble the tacos by adding meat, a tablespoon of salsa, and shaving cheese over the top. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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Sausage & Poached Egg Yolk with Basil & Feta

Try this easy and delicious dish for breakfast or brunch!

Feta isn’t just for topping – it melts nicely in the pan and helps everything stick together.

You can use any ground meat you like – I used pork sausage, but try ground turkey or even beef if that’s what you have.

Fresh basil and a runny poached egg leave only one element left – what to put it on?

Try a multigrain or french baguette, sliced in half and toasted with a little butter. Udi’s Millet-Chia bread is a delicious gluten free option. So good!

Sausage & Poached Egg Yolk with Basil & Feta

  • 1/2 small green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup ground sausage
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • crusty bread, toasted with butter
  • 2 eggs, yolks separated from whites
  • pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a small skillet. Add green pepper, onion, and sausage. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until meat is cooked through and the vegetables are soft. Stir in feta.

Place toasted bread on 2 plates and divide the meat and vegetable mixture evenly between them.

Boil 2 quarts water. Carefully drop one yolk at a time into the water, waiting 30 seconds before adding the second yolk so they don’t stick together. Boil 1 minute, and remove with a slotted spoon. Place on top of meat and sprinkle with basil leaves and a little freshly ground pepper.

Add hot sauce if you like! Enjoy!


Feta & Basil Turkey Burgers with Pesto Mayo

Confession: I’m not a big fan of turkey burgers. Not as they usually are.

You know: dry, flavorless, generally not worth the calories? I’d rather have beef, thankyouverymuch.

But oh…dress up the meat and turkey burgers can be fabulous.

Case in point. This recipe.

Let me explain.

Feta. Basil. Pesto. Mayo. Ciabatta. Grilled.

We want.

Get it?

2014-09-17 18.39.01

 

Feta & Basil Turkey Burgers with Pesto Mayo

one note: don’t overmix the turkey; it’ll get tough. Use your fingers and mash everything together carefully. It won’t be fully incorporated, and that’s okay.

  • 1 pound ground lean turkey
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs (regular or panko will work)
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • mayonnaise of your choice
  • prepared jarred basil pesto of your choice
  • tomato slices
  • cucumber slices
  • lettuce leaves
  • 4 ciabatta rolls

In a large mixing bowl, break ground turkey apart carefully. Add egg, breadcrumbs, feta and basil. Mix gently by hand until just incorporated.

Divide the mixture evenly into 4 patties.

Heat a grill pan or skillet to medium high. When pan is hot, slice ciabatta in half, oil lightly, and grill cut side down until charred. Set bread aside.

Reduce heat to medium, oil pan and add burgers, but don’t overcrowd. (You can also do this on a traditional outdoor grill!)

Cook about 7 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

To make the pesto mayo, add equal parts mayonnaise and pesto. Whisk together until combined and spread generously on the top of each of the bread halves.

Top burger with tomato, cucumber and lettuce. Enjoy!