Published Oct 19, 2003

I’m not all about cooking quick and easy things — a little effort in cooking usually pays off with incredible flavor, and, frankly, I love the zen of getting into a good cooking run — but I felt like fajitas one night, and, well, they’re easy to make.

Typically, fajitas are cooked in a skillet on a stovetop. This makes for a nice, steamy, sizzling presentation, but it’s hard to get a good crust on dozens of little strips of steak. So, instead, I used the broiler.

It’s not as odd an idea as it sounds. The broiler provides really really hot radiant heat, just like an open flame — in fact, as Alton Brown is always happy to say, a broiler is just like an upside-down grill. And what could be more authentic than grilled carne asada?

The technique is simple — marinate the skirt steak for a little while first, using lots and lots of lime juice, chile powder, salt, pepper and chili sauce, then broil it for about 15 minutes until the outside has started to form a nice crust. The meat will be nice and juicy and filled with flavor.

Of course, fajitas need more than just meat; I like some nice grilled veggies with mine. So, chop a red pepper into strips and cut an onion in half and chop it into rings. Put a tablespoon of oil in a skillet, heat it over medium-high heat, add the chopped veggies. Stir to coat with oil. Stir them periodically, but not too much — you want the edges of the onions, and spots on the peppers to become blackened, but not burnt. Cook hotter and with less stirring than you’d use if you wanted to sweat the onions and make them soft and transparent, but not so hot as to scorch them.
onions and red peppers in a skillet

From time to time, throw a tortilla on top of the veggies and get it heated through. Store heated tortillas in a clean kitchen towel. When the veggies are softened, fill said tortillas with your meat, veggies, and maybe some salsa and guac. Mmm. From start to finish: maybe 20 minutes.
fajitas, rice and beans on a plate