Mexican . . .
week we are going Mexican.
This week's column comes after an inquiry from Janie
Brown, who had come across the term 'jacquard meat'
in a recipe for fajita (pronounced: fah-heat-ahh) and
wondered what the term meant.
meat is simply meat that has been tenderised by multiple
piercings, often used in conjunction with marinating
or rubbing in of spices, etc. Jaquarding the meat allows
the flavours to penetrate deeper and faster. Commercially
this is done with use of a machine with needle attachments.
Many of you will have no doubt purchased steaks that
have been treated this way. It allows cheaper cuts of
beef, etc to be tenderised and used or cooked as grilling
home this can be achieved by stabbing the meat with
a normal eating fork or similar. As the process breaks
down the external and internal cellular walls you will
be surprised just how tender the meat becomes.
just what is a fajita? If it comes to that what about
all these other Mexican foods? Are you also confused
about what a taco is and how it differs from a tortilla
or a burrito, etc?
- a stuffed, rolled tortilla
- a thick, filled boat shaped tortilla
- corn tortilla pieces marinated in chile, layered
with a filling, sauce and cheese, and baked in a casserole
(similar to lasagne)
Chimichanga - a deep fried burrito
- corn tortilla cooked in oil, dipped in sauce, filled
and baked with more sauce
- corn tortillas filled and folded in half - topped
with frijoles (beans) before baking
- traditionally this is skirt steak that has been
marinated in a mixture of oil, lime juice, red pepper
and garlic for at least 24 hours before being grilled.
The cooked meat is cut into strips that are then served
either on or wrapped (burrito style) in warm tortillas.
But the marinade, etc can also be used applied to
- a deep fried stuffed corn tortilla
- a thick tortilla, deep fried. Cut and stuffed as
per pita bread
- tortillas stuffed with various ingredients (including
Quesa meaning cheese) and folded in half. They can
be fried, baked, sautéed or grilled until cheese
melts forming a seal
- a soft tortilla wrapped around foods with no seal
either end; normally served in a 'U' shape
- tortilla dough enclosing a simple filling and grilled
- a corn chip like a volcano or pyramid (tortilla/taco
- a soft, flat bread made of corn or wheat flour
as you can see for the most part the name reflects how
many of them are served physically, whether it is wrapped
or rolled, if it is baked or deep fried, etc. For the
most part what you fill them with is entirely up to
the individuals taste . . . and imagination!
apparently originated along the Rio Grande River on
the Texas Mexico border and were eaten by the cattle
wranglers. The bef skirt steak is the traditional and
best cut used but these days many other cuts and meats
are used. You might have been served these in restaurants
where a cast-iron griddle is used. While this may be
dramatic, it is something developed by restaurants and
is in no way a part of true fajitas.
following is the traditional recipe for the method of
marinating the jacquard meat for fajitas. There are
of course many variations and versions for making this
but so you know exactly what fajita should be this is
as traditional a recipe as you can get.
steak - beef
- thinly sliced
chilli - powdered or flaked
cloves - chopped
chillies - pickled
a fork, pierce / stab the piece of skirt steak as
much as you can on both sides. The more it is pierced
the better the flavour and more tender it will be
(this is normally quite a tough cut of meat)
method that can be employed is to take a very sharp
knife and score the meat to a depth of 1/2 - 1cm
parallel lines approximately 1/2 cm apart
the skirt steak around and now repeat to form a criss-cross
pattern of scores
on the other side
half of the onions in a glass or stainless steel bowl/tray
the remaining ingredients (dry and then wet) together
and rub this marinade really well into the meat
the steak into the dish, on top of the onions and
cover with the remaining onions
with cling film and refrigerate overnight, turning
a griddle plate or bbq until quite hot (the fajitas
must cook on a very high heat source, to seal the
outside but still leave the meat medium to rare)
the meat from the marinade, cut into 2cm thick strips
and toss in the oil
for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until the outside
is nicely brown and slightly charred
the meat to a bowl allow to rest while you cook the
remaining strips. Do not attempt to cook too many
at once or the necessary heat will be lost - allow
the grill to heat up again before cooking the next
the cooked meat into thinner strips if required so
that can be easily rolled into the soft tortillas
with warm, soft flour tortillas and your favourite
salsa, salad, etc
and bon appetit . . . . .
quantity (add to taste)
meaning a whole one of
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