I am well aware this is post is going to garner me a derisive phone call from my mom and a possibly even more derisive message from my sister. And maybe even some derisive comments from you all as well (please be gentle). But still I persevere on, for your own edification as well as a note to myself not to forget all about this discovery.
Seasoned cast iron really is nonstick.
See the thing is, I always kept my cast iron pan seasoned. But I also only used it to cook bacon, so no wonder it never stuck. And before you make too much fun of me, consider that one should not cook tomatoes in cast iron (the acid causes a reaction–apparently some people disagree, but this is the rule I’ve always stuck to), and then think about just how many dishes I cook with tomatoes. So I never reached for it anyway.
But holy moly, I had the pan running on high gas the entire time I was cooking the onions and peppers–it would have taken gallons of oil on the stainless steel and I would have killed about 50 birds with the nonstick. Truly, it was a thing of beauty to a somewhat health conscious cook like myself. And it gave the peppers and onions the perfect sear–as did the cast iron indoor grill for the skirt steak. If you are looking to emulate chain bar and grill fajitas indoors–and normally I would not aim for emulating chain bar and grill anything, except potato skins and fajitas, 2 of my guilty pleasures–cast iron is the way to go. That and a great marinade.
One note: try to get a good flour tortilla that will not rip easily. Sadly ours did–which is why you can see my hand in the picture above, holding the tortilla roll together. The flavor was perfect, spot on, but I ended up needing to cut my fajitas up and eat them in bite sizes. I won’t be buying that brand of tortilla again!
- 2 lbs skirt or flank steak
- marinade for steak (see below)
- 2 sweet bell peppers, preferably different colors, thickly sliced
- 1 medium-large white onion, thickly sliced
- flour tortillas
- shredded cheese (I like cheddar and monterey jack)
- shredded Romaine or iceberg lettuce (something with crunch)
- sour cream
- Mexican or southwestern style hot sauce
- guacamole (we left out)
- juice of 2-3 limes (depending on juiciness--this marinade is not precise)
- 1 t cumin
- 1 Mexican oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- At least 1 hour before dinner, place the beef and the marinade into a plastic, seal-able bag (like Ziploc). Massage the meat with marinade and place it in the fridge. Massage and turn over ever 20 minutes--or if you start with more time, every 30-60 minutes. The lime in the acid has a cooking property, so begin marinading that day, not before.
- Preheat your grill; shake the steak off to remove the marinade and sprinkle salt and pepper on each side. When the grill is quite hot, add the steak. Cook to desired doneness--I like medium rare for fajitas (flank steak will take longer than skirt steak). Remove to a cutting board and tent with foil.
- While the steak is cooking, preheat your cast iron skillet on high. Get it nice and smoking hot. Add a little oil and add the onion with a pinch of salt. Toss every now and then--you want the onion to char in places (I suppose in the summer this could be done outside also on the grill in a grill basket or in the skillet on the grill). When it is partially done, add the peppers. Continue tossing and charring. I like the pepper to retain some bite but I like the onion completely cooked through. Do it to your taste.
- While the onions and peppers are cooking, and after the meat has rested for 10 minutes or so, slice the meat thinly against the grain. At the table or counter, place a bowl with the shredded cheese, one each with the lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Don't forget the hot sauce! Place the sliced steak out and as soon as the peppers and onions are done, place them out also. Warm the flour tortillas in the microwave--wrap them in a towel with a sprinkle of water and heat for 2-3 minutes on 50% power. Place this all out and let your guests or family make their own fajitas. Vow to never pay for steak fajitas in a chain bar and grill again.