Steak Tacos

Quick-pickled vegetables add unexpected flavor to steak tacos.

Emily Suzanne McDonald

Knowing how to quick-pickle seasonal produce is an essential skill which opens up a world of possibilities for your fruits and vegetables.

Serves | 8 |

Pickled Vegetables

  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb carrots, sliced into long matchsticks
  • 1¼ cups paper-thin ring slices of red onion
  • 2 32-oz wide-mouth glass canning jars
  • 4 cloves garlic, divided
  • Fresno chiles, finely diced divided
  • 2 tsp toasted and cooled whole cumin seeds, divided
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns, divided

Cumin-Adobo Marinated Steak

  • 1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 Tbsp adobo sauce (from can of chipotles in adobo)
  • 1⁄3 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 to 2½ lbs flat iron steaks
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 flour tortillas, heated
  • 3 to 4 avocados, cut into cubes
  • 8 oz crumbled queso fresco
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Preparation – Pickled Vegetables | In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add water, vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring until solids are dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat, add carrots and onion, cover and place back on high heat until mixture comes to a boil once again. Remove from heat, keep covered and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

In 2 canning jars, equally divide garlic cloves, chiles, cumin seeds and peppercorns. Using tongs, carefully divide hot vegetables between jars. Evenly divide pickling liquid over vegetables and allow to sit at room temperature, uncovered, until completely cool. Secure lids and transfer to refrigerator.

Chef's Tip: Check out our video on Quick Pickling: 101.

Preparation – Cumin-Adobo Marinated Steak | In a small skillet, heat cumin seeds over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until toasted and fragrant. Remove and transfer to small bowl. Add garlic, adobo sauce, olive oil and vinegar; whisk to combine. Pour over steak, coating all sides; cover and transfer to refrigerator, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil the grill rack. Remove steak from marinade and generously season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place over the hottest part of the fire at a 45-degree angle on grates and cook, 4 minutes. Rotate steak and cook another 4 minutes, then flip and cook 4 to 6 minutes, then rotate again on grates to finish cooking, another 4 to 6 minutes. Remove and tent loosely with foil and allow to rest, 5 minutes.

Slice steak thinly against the grain. Assemble tacos by filling heated tortillas with steak and pickled vegetables and garnish with avocado, queso fresco and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning blog aperiodictableblog.com, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon AppétitSerious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen. She is a self-taught baker and cook who believes the words “I can’t” should never apply to food preparation and that curiosity can lead to wonderful things, in both the kitchen and in life.

Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning blogaperiodictableblog.com, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.