On this blog I’ve mentioned Chef Wesley Avila and his Guerrilla Tacos cookbook before. If you’re not familiar with the chef and author, he’s famous for Guerrilla Tacos in Los Angeles, which began as a food truck in 2012, then eventually transitioned to a restaurant. He’s now on to a new restaurant adventure. I love this photo of him!
What I would have first prepared from Guerilla Tacos – the cookbook – were Octopus and Chorizo tacos, but since I can’t get fresh octopus I made Chile Colorado first, then chose this recipe next – Perron-style tacos.
From Chef Avila: “This taco is reminiscent of my travels down to Baja California and eating at food stands in the suburbs of Rosario, at a placed called Tacos el Gerente. I’ve also seen a version of this taco in Mexicali, so I think it’s more of a northern-style taco. Perron translates to “bitchin’” I think – it’s just a bitchin’ taco.“
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon light chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 white onions, thinly sliced
2 oranges, thinly sliced into rings (do not peel)
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 pounds skirt steak, sliced into 3 x 5” pieces, 1/2” thick, like fajitas
2 cups dried pinto beans
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
1 head of garlic, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon extra- virgin olive oil (optional)
6 Jalapeño chiles
3 limes, halved
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese
12 – 5” flour tortillas, warmed
Pico de Gallo
In a large bowl, mix together the vegetable oil, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, onions, oranges, and vinegar and season with salt. Add the steak to the marinade, turn to evenly coat, and leave in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.
Rinse the pinto beans and put the beans in a pot, cover with water, and set over medium heat until they’re bubbling. Add the onion, bay leaves and garlic and simmer slowly. Don’t salt your beans until they’re done; otherwise it will extract the water from the beans and you want them to absorb the water. When the beans are cooked and break apart when pressed with a spoon, remove from the heat and season with salt. Set aside to steep.
Prepare a medium charcoal grill or a gas grill at 525 degrees F. Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the meat for about 6 minutes, or until cooked to medium, turning once or twice. Alternatively, in a 12” cast-iron skillet over high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the meat and cook for about 5 minutes, turning once. Once cooked, set aside in a container covered with foil to let it rest for 5 minutes, then chop into 1 1/2” pieces.
Instead of slicing before and after, I cut my flank steak into long “fingers,” which is how we do fajitas. I cooked them in a hot skillet, then also removed some of the sliced onions and sauteed those over medium-high heat. There is a lot of flavor in the onions from the marinade.
On the high-heat grill or in the 6” cast-iron skillet over high heat, roast the jalapeños and get them nice and charred, about 4 minutes. Once they’re roasted, cut off the stems, and slice the chiles. Season liberally with salt and squeeze the limes over the top. Set aside.
In a pan over medium heat, add about 1 1/2 ounces of cheese to each warmed tortilla, and melt the cheese so it’s kind of quesadilla-ish.
Once it’s melted, put the tortillas on a plate. Add the meat and beans, top with pico de gallo and guacamole, and garnish with the seasoned jalapeños.