Flank steak tacos, cerveza negra & charred onions

Flank steak tacos, cerveza negra & charred onions

Chris Middleton

Flank steak is the only cut of beef you see at the busy Oaxacan markets, as you wander down laneways of cooking stations lined with stands of abundant carne asada. There you’ll see it butterflied and batted out into thin sheets of titanic minute steak, alongside coils of chorizo sausage and piles of abundant vegetables and salads. The meaty elements are briefly charred over aromatic woods and charcoal with small bulb spring onions and bullhorn chillies, then served up with piles of tortillas, chopped salads and plenty of salsa taqueria, while mariachi bands, icy cerveza and hordes of hungry locals help to complete the picture. This version cuts to the chase by focusing on the combination of that uniquely textured cut of beef alongside those caramelised green onions.


Quantity Ingredient
pinch sea salt
pinch ground cumin
pinch smoked paprika
4 x 200g grain-fed skirt steaks
12 Tortilla dough, homemade masa flour tortillas
or store-bought tortillas
250ml Salsa taqueria
100g salted ricotta, chopped

Charred onions with cerveza negra

Quantity Ingredient
2 bunches bulb spring onions, green tips trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch oregano leaves
350ml dark mexican beer or porter
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
25g chipotle in adobo sauce, very finely chopped, (see Latin Larder)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1/2 lime, juiced


  1. Preheat a wood-fired or charcoal barbecue until the coals have a thin coating of grey ash. Alternatively, heat a regular barbecue to medium.
  2. Combine the salt and spices in a small bowl and mix together well. Using your hands, rub the spice mix liberally into the steaks, then transfer them to the hot barbecue and cook for 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred all over.
  3. To make the charred onions, cut the spring onions in half and dress them with the olive oil, chopped oregano and salt.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add the beer, vinegar, chipotle and agave syrup and bring to a boil. Simmer the liquid until reduced to a caramel-like consistency, then add the lime juice and reduce further until thick and glossy. Season to taste with salt and pepper and leave to cool to room temperature.
  5. Add the onions to the barbecue, cut side down, and cook for 5 minutes until nicely coloured and charred. Turn over and cook for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Leave to cool slightly, then peel away any excess outer layers.
  6. Cut each onion half into quarters, stir into the reduced beer sauce and mix well.
  7. To serve, warm the tortillas on the barbecue until lightly charred, then divide them among serving plates and top each with a spoonful of salsa. Carve the steaks into thin slices or chop into bite-size pieces and arrange over the tortillas, then spoon over the caramelised onions. Spoon over a little more salsa, sprinkle with the ricotta and serve.
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