While we were living in Colorado, there was this little Mom & Pop style Mexican restaurant not far from the base. We would go there often, and it was really yummy; they had this dish that I adored, Carne Asada fries. I couldn’t get enough of it! When I was pregnant with Ethan, I would practically nosh on this meal almost weekly! I haven’t had it (or found it, for that matter) at any other Mexican restaurant I’ve been to since we’ve left Colorado, so when I discovered this recipe on Pinterest for Carne Asada fries, I knew I had to try it out. If I can’t find it in a restaurant, then the definite next best thing is making it at home whenever I want! I’ve made a few adjustments to the marinade recipe so that it is more to our liking – for instance, I omit the jalapenos to reduce the amount of heat to zil. But that is perfectly up to your preference! The marinade has a yummy citrusy flavor, and the cilantro just helps to enhance the flavor profile.
Traditional Carne Asada consists of thinly sliced beef that has been marinated with lime juice and has been grilled to impart a charred flavor. The meat in Carne Asada can be flank or skirt steak. I’ve used flank steak as well as skirt steak and find that they both work equally as well, but I definitely recommend allowing the meat to marinate overnight. It helps create a super juicy, flavorful component to the dish. I usually buy my meat in bulk, and then freezer seal it. When making this dish, I like to pull out the frozen meat and then slice it when it is half frozen. It makes it easier for me to get the nice thin slices (since the Polymyositis, I struggle with slicing and dicing! So accommodations must be made!) that I look for in the Carne Asada.
After slicing the meat, I prepare the marinade and let it soak up the flavors overnight. When it comes time to prep the dish, I cook the meat last, since the slices will cook quickly and you don’t want to dry them out.
My first step is to fry the french fries. Normally I would bake them, but with Carne Asade fries, you really want a nice crispy pop to your potatoes and I love the way a golden fry supports the meat and toppings. The toppings on Carne Asada fries are very individual, but are close to what you’d put on a taco or nachos. I love sour cream, green onions, guacamole, salsa or pico de gallo, melted cheese and tomatoes; other toppings to consider are grilled onions, black beans, rice, olives and jalapenos.
This recipe is adapted from the Carne Asada Fries found at Created by Diane – her recipe uses jalapenos and green onions in the marinade as well as on the fries.
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons salsa
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- zest shavings from the orange, lime, and lemon
- as a side note – I often add in the peel of a quarter slice of each to enhance the citrus flavor but that’s how we roll here.
- Also, once I didn’t have an orange, so I substituted with 2 tablespoons Simply Fresh orange juice. That worked the same! However, I recommend using fresh lemon and lime as the concentrated little bottles don’t provide the same fresh pop!
- Place meat in plastic bag.
- In a separate bowl, whisk all of the marinade ingredients together.
- Pour marinade over pre-sliced meat.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight as preferred.
The rest of the deliciousness:
- French fries (I usually use my judgement on how many my family will consume, usually half a bag is good here)
- Salsa/pico de gallo
- Sour cream
- sliced green onion
- Queso (we use On the Border Creamy Monterrey Jack Queso found in the same place as jarred salsa)
- marinated skirt steak
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- other optional ingredients you may want include jalapenos, black beans, diced tomatoes, olives, etc.
You’ll notice I don’t really provide exact measurements on these toppings; this is a really easy, flexible dish and the you’ll need as little or as much of each on top of your fries as your little tummy can handle.
- Fry the french fries according to package directions, drain on paper towels and salt to taste.
- While french fries are frying, set out ingredients and dice the green onions/tomatoes, and warm up the queso.
- Heat the olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat; cook a few slices of the skirt steak for about 3-4 minutes, transfer to paper towels to drain. (Since the meat is already sliced, you do not need to cook it for very long; they do cook quickly. I like to slightly undercook my slices since they will continue to cook when I remove them from the heat.)
My (second) favorite part!
Carne Asada Fries: Assemble! (In Captain America voice)
- Place a pile of french fries in a bowl.
- Top with meat.
- Top with queso.
- Top with sour cream.
- Top with guacamole.
- Top with pico de gallo (or salsa).
- Top with sliced green onions.
We are actually going to have this for dinner tomorrow night. I already have the meat prepped and ready to marinate. This is my favorite meal, hands down.
The hubby likes the meat, but not the french fry portion, so he puts his on tortillas and tops with the sour cream, pico de gallo, green onions and queso. He often requests this meal, too. The marinade is flavorful and unforgettable!
As a little side note, please forgive the awful photos this time around. I fear I have lost the battery pack to my faithful Canon and until I find it, I’m stuck using the not-so-great point and shoot “camera” we’ve had forever (sad face, haha).