Great news: You can make tacos — tortillas, meat, vegetables and all — in your waffle iron.
Better news: It's not hard and the results are, quite frankly, fairly awesome.
I started with the tortillas.
If you have a tortilla press, you're ahead of me. I had a rolling pin and it was going to have to work. Fortunately, forming the tortilla dough into balls and rolling them flat between sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap got the tortillas thin enough. And you do want them to be thin.
You can make tortillas as thin as any you'd find in a store made by people (or machines) who know what they're doing. We're obviously sacrificing tradition by making these in a waffle iron, but there's no reason quality and taste have to go out the window too. As a bonus, it turns out my circular waffle iron was just about the perfect size for a tortilla.
With the vegetables, I knew from previous waffling that we weren't going to have a problem there.
That left the beef. Get ready to roll your eyes. And know that I'm rolling mine with you at myself. I prepared bavette de boeuf using my sous-vide cooker and then finished it off with a quick sear in the waffle iron.
- Bavette is ubiquitous here in Montreal and is similar if not identical to flank steak. (My butcher has, in the past, shown me where the bavette comes from, but he's shown me on himself by pointing to his midsection, which is fine as far as it goes but still left me with some questions. Like: What would cows look like standing on two feet?)
- There is no way you need a sous-vide contraption to make these. You know how if all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail? If you have a sous-vide circulator, every piece of meat starts to look like something that should be cooking for eight hours in a water bath. I can't defend it; I'm just explaining it.
So, yes, this is a waffled meal from start to finish. But there is room for shortcuts.
If you have leftover grilled or roasted vegetables, you can skip that step and just use those (perhaps reheated in the microwave). If you have tortillas on hand, you can skip the tortilla-making step and give them a quick run through the waffle iron to warm them up. And I think it goes without saying that there are other ways to cook beef besides the waffle iron.
So, yes, you can make any or all of these things without the waffle iron. But you can make them all with the waffle iron.
And that is why we're here.
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 2
- 8 ounces flank steak
- Juice of one lime
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bell pepper (or 2 small bell peppers), cut into 1⁄4-inch wide strips
- 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup Maseca (or other instant corn masa flour)
- ¾ cup lukewarm water
- Pinch of salt
- Cilantro, washed and dried
- Shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack or Chihuahua cheese
- Salsa or pico de gallo
- Preheat your waffle iron on medium.
- In a zip-top plastic bag or bowl, combine the lime juice, oil, cumin, and salt and pepper. Add the flank steak and allow it to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, toss the vegetables with the salt.
- When the waffle iron has preheated, coat both sides of the grid with nonstick spray, place as many vegetables as will fit in a single layer on the waffle iron and close the lid. Cook the vegetables about 2 minutes, or until they are just starting to soften and display waffle marks.
- Repeat Step 4 as necessary with remaining vegetables, removing the finished vegetables to a covered bowl to keep them warm.
- In a medium bowl using your hands, combine the Maseca, water and salt and knead until a soft dough forms. It should be about the consistency of Play-Doh.
- Divide the dough into six roughly equal pieces and roll those pieces into balls. Place the balls on a towel and cover with a damp towel to keep them from drying out.
- Press one ball into a disc with your hand. Place the disc on a sheet of plastic wrap covered with Maseca and cover that with another sheet of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle about 6 inches across.
- Place the dough into the waffle iron, close the lid, and cook for about 1 minute or until the dough has firmed up to a tortilla consistency and bears light waffle marks. (Don't let the waffle marks get too dark or you'll end up with tortilla chips. Hey, there's an idea...)
- While the first tortilla cooks, repeat Step 8 with another ball of dough. Remove the finished tortillas to a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
- When the last tortilla has finished waffling, place the flank steak in the waffle iron and close the lid.
- Cook the steak for about 5 minutes. Thicker cuts may take longer. You want it to reach an internal temperature of about 140 degrees. Use an instant-read thermometer or cut into the steak. You should see some pink — but no red — in the center.
- Remove the finished steak to a cutting board, turn off the waffle iron, and let the meat rest for a couple of minutes before slicing it thinly against the grain.
- Assemble the tacos: If the tortillas have cooled too much, place one in the waffle iron for 10 seconds and let the residual heat warm it up. Pile the sliced meat into a waffled tortilla and add waffled vegetables.
- Top with cilantro, cheese, salsa and/or pico de gallo and serve with guacamole on the side if desired.