Rubbed with cumin, chili powder, and lime juice, left to marinate while the flavors sink into the meat, and then seared on a hot skillet until the outside is just slightly charred, carne asada is a big-flavored taste of Mexico that works perfectly as a main dish or as a salad topper. For example, you could use it instead of shrimp on this Mexican salad, or throw it on a taco salad for a truly deluxe variation.
The spices are what really make this recipe work, and letting them penetrate the meat while it rests in the fridge is essential for the best flavor, so don’t skimp on the marinade. Also, when you’re planning your cooking time, make sure to leave half an hour for the meat to come to room temperature: this greatly reduces the risk that you’ll end up with dry or unappetizing steak. If the steak is fridge-temperature when it hits the pan, you’ll have to cook it for a lot longer to heat up the inside, and while that’s going on the outside will burn! If the whole steak starts at room temperature, it heats through more quickly, and you end up with a nice char, not a blackened crust of carbon body-armor.
All this marinating and resting time does take a little pre-planning, but the recipe itself isn’t time-intensive at all: the marinade does most of the work while you focus on something else. The number of people you’ll feed with 2 pounds of meat depends on how you’re serving it (salad topper or main dish), but if you’re cooking for four, you’ll probably have some extra for later. In that case, it’s just as good over greens the next day, or cooked into something more creative like an omelet. For such quick prep work, that’s not too shabby at all: make it on the weekend, and you’ll have something to look forward to in Monday’s lunchbox.
Carne Asada Sirloin Recipe
- 2 lb. sirloin steak;
- 2 cloves garlic, minced;
- 1 tsp. dried oregano;
- 1 tbsp. paprika;
- 1 tbsp. powdered ancho chile or chili powder;
- ½ tsp. ground cumin;
- Juice of 1 lime;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin, ancho chile, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Rub the meat with the lime juice.
- Rub the seasonings into the meat.
- Let it marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature another 30 minutes.
- Melt some cooking fat on a skillet placed over a medium-high heat and sear the sirloin 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until it reaches your desired doneness.