Fajita
Resources > Term > F > Fajita

Are you a Smart Kitchen™ Chef?

Try it FREE or take a TOUR to explore Smart Kitchen!
+ -

 

Today Fajita means a meal where meat, poultry, vegetables and/or other ingredients are Grilled together over High Heat and served in a flour tortilla.

The dish has its origins from tougher less expensive cuts of beef, namely Outside Skirt Steak, which resembles a “Belt,” or “Faja” in Spanish, that Mexican workers in Texas cut into thin strips and cooked quickly over open fires with vegetables. They ate the combination of fixings in tortillas as their main meal of the day. Texans took note and the dish was added to the hybrid style of cooking that became known as Tex-Mex. Today, Hanger Steak is as likely as Skirt Steak to be sold as “Fajita Meat.”

From the simple Mexican beef dishes of the range, the term “Fajita” has grown to encompass grilling poultry, seafood, and pork together with fixings and serving them all together “sizzling” in heated Skillet. The diner then builds and fills a flour tortilla with the ingredients. Don’t be surprised if you see almost anything cooked fajita style today.

The first key to making Fajitas is the Marinade, usually something simple and Tenderizing, like Lime Juice, ground CuminChopped Jalapeños and Cilantro, allowed to work on the tough meat for hours in a lidded container or plastic bag.

The second key to making Fajitas is the cooking method. The meat should be removed from the marinade and any excess moisture blotted away, so that the product will Brown and char in the cooking vessel, which is traditionally a Cast Iron Skillet with a little oil, though a grill or broiler can be used on High Heat.  The meat can be cooked whole or sliced thin against the Meat Grain. Slicing it thin is better if you are cooking the Fajita Meat with other ingredients like onions and peppers because it exposes more surface area of the meat to the heat.

After the meat is cooked it should rest, allowing time to cook the Sliced Onions and Peppers that traditionally accompany Fajitas in the same pan as the meat. The onions and peppers should be cooked until soft. The rested meat can be returned to the pan briefly to bring all the ingredients up to an acceptable temperature for service. Fajitas are often served with Flair, the Fourth of the Four Levers of Cooking,™ by presenting them sizzling on a super-heated cast iron pan or dish. Other fixings, like CheeseGuacamole, or Salsa can accompany the sizzling ingredients and be used by guests to build their own Fajitas in flour tortillas.