This taco might be a bit different from your usual asada taco but amazing nonetheless and if you love meat and you love tacos and you love sous vide cooking… then, yes, you must try this.
By definition most asada tacos feature carne asada which is grilled or pan-seared flank steak. I didn’t have any and as much as I love flank steak I tend to take sides with the less popular tougher cuts when cooked sous vide. Why? because they can be transformed into something that’s quite possibly superior in flavor and texture via sous vide. And you’re still within rare to medium rare range… which is just amazing.
Yeah, that’s the thing… I love rare or medium rare steak and without sous vide cooking, it’s nearly impossible to achieve the doneness level I’m looking for when cooking these tougher cuts. You can choose to sous vide your steak to whatever level you want but most of my posts on this blog are about applying the least amount of heat to cook ingredients. Just enough to ensure the food is cooked, the texture is what I like and proper pasteurization is achieved.
Enough with this sous vide babbling. Get your gear ready because this is extremely simple once you have all the components ready. This is not a recipe per se. More like a reference guide if you’re interested in this kind of cooking. Let’s do this.
This should be a pretty quick one guys. As you know, brining is one of my things. I’m hoping to write a whole post about brining in depth (no pun intended) soon. Today let’s keep it simple. Just grab a beautiful round tip (you probably just want a portion of it, they can be big) at your butcher shop. A good size would be 3 to 4 pounds. Trim any excess fat if need be and let’s go.
Yep… hot sauce making has taken over my life and so has fermentation. If you haven’t tried either and are hesitant well… put that hesitation aside and dive in. In my opinion, fermented hot sauces are superior in taste to their vinegar-acidified counterparts. There’s that extra complexity in the flavor that just can’t be described. And I’m not even gonna get into the whole health aspect of eating fermented foods. I’ll leave it at… probiotic, etc, etc. This is gonna be a really quick post guys… there’s seriously nothing to it. Let’s make some awesome hot sauce.
One important fact, at least important to me: This is the 4th taco post on this blog which could possibly be interpreted as a lack of interest in the subject. Quite the opposite. Tacos are a pretty standard in my daily diet, specially recently. I love them. As you know, they’re easy to make and there are so few rules involved that they’re also almost anxiety free, specially if you fear the criticism of the purists out there. I don’t mean to oversimplify them. There are successful and disastrous tacos out there but if you keep things simple, work with good ingredients and follow good cooking technique expect success. If you want to take a look at some more convoluted and risky if not exciting taco recipes… check out my sous vide lamb shoulder asada tacos or my second taco recipe, the wonderful sous vide swordfish taco. Anyways, get about 20 shrimps at the store and follow me.
Making mayo at home is one of those practices that have fallen out of fashion. The whole raw egg/salmonella thing can be intimidating but it’s pretty easy to find pasteurized eggs in groceries stores. If you can’t find them you could still pasteurize them at home but it will require sous vide gear. If you’re interested you should check out my article on sous vide egg pasteurization which also deals with mayo pasteurization which in a nutshell talks about listeria and salmonella safe log reduction levels by application of heat bellow egg setting temperature. But if you wanna skip all that hassle, try getting pasteurized eggs.
I haven’t reviewed many products on my blog but I’m always happy to do it, specially if they’re closely related to my cooking. Sous vide cooking can be daunting specially if you have never done it. It requires gear which isn’t necessarily cheap. Immersion circulators are becoming more affordable these days but still are in the $200 range. I remember when I started cooking sous vide a few years ago, these would easily go around $1000 which is why I decided to build my own from scratch for less than $100 but thats a story for another time.
Yikes! that was a long post title! I always struggle with post titles. I wanna summarize what the post is about and not come off entirely lame yet pay attention to SEO hocus-pocus, etc.. but you be the judge. Now, if you don’t care for that sorta thing, I mean, blog post titles… and you want to instead try something really cool and awesome in the kitchen, today is a fortunate day. Both passion for cooking sous vide and my renewed passion for home fermentation come together here in the nicest of ways. If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve posted about hot sauces recently. About a month ago I changed my approach and stopped using vinegar all together for making hot sauce, switching my attention over to lactic acid instead. Lacto-fermentation not only preserves foods in an acidic environment that welcomes good bacteria and good yeast even good molds, it also has a tremendous impact in flavor and texture. I figured I could take advantage of this and combine it with a popular sous vide preparation: Garlic Confit.
Venezuelans like their tender cuts of beef lean and medium rare. No fancy seasonings or brines, etc… just salt, maybe pepper. A great golden crust is a must and that’s pretty much it. When it comes to side dishes… delicious fried yucca is pretty common and so are a few fresh sauces. We like guacamoles and guasacacas, chimichurris are also pretty standard. Now when it comes to bread, that’s hardly ever there. Instead we have mini arepas which are a traditional staple of steak houses back home. Always deep fried and always paired with a cool bowl of natilla which is similar to crema latina. Depending on where you live you might easily find natilla/crema latina or not at all. Sour cream is a close substitution.
I love lacto-fermented vegetables. Homemade sauerkraut and kimchi are fun to make and one of the first things I got into when I started this cooking blog. Along with bread making, vegetable fermentation has always been fascinating to me. Recently I’ve started experimenting with a broader spectrum of vegetables, spices, seasonings… the combinations are endless and the flavor profile that can be achieved are incredibly complex. Fermentation, aside from all the health benefits and the preservation perks simply makes things taste awesome.
I haven’t found a lot of information on the matter. Seems a bit odd considering how much importance people give to the “cook until juices run clear” rule in a time when sous vide cooking is becoming more popular but maybe that’s just me not crawling the web more thoroughly. If you’ve seen any good source of info let me know please… and I gotta warn yah, this post is probably a little graphic and off-putting but if you’ve been reading this blog…it happens.