Carne Asada with Caramelized Onions

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Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Here, beefy flank steak is marinated in a sweet and spicy citrus mixture before being seared on the grill. The citrus in the marinade helps the steak caramelize on the grill, producing a sweet flavor that complements the caramelized onions.


  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml) olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lb. (1 kg) flank steak
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 10 to 12 corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • Pico de gallo or salsa for serving


In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, 3 Tbs. of the olive oil, the vinegar and 1 tsp. salt. Place the flank steak in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator, turning the bag once or twice, for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

To make the caramelized onions, in a fry pan over high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and season well with salt and pepper. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a very deep brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill.

Coat the grill grate lightly with cooking spray. Remove the steak from the marinade  and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. (Discard the marinade.) Arrange the steak on the grate directly over the heat and grill, turning once, until nicely grill-marked and cooked to the desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. Carve the steak across the grain on the diagonal into 1/4-inch (6-mm) slices.

To assemble, fill the tortillas with the steak and top with the caramelized onions. Serve immediately, passing the pico de gallo at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Taco Night, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014)

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