Carne asada is featured early on in Roy Choi's new memoir and cookbook, L.A. Son. Choi noshed on these tacos growing up in Koreatown, and then later when he was riding in a lowrider crew. Given Choi's future success on the food truck circuit, this experience clearly had a lasting impression.
Choi makes his carne asada with skirt steak marinated in a pungent, garlicky sauce perked up with citrus juice, kiwi, mirin, and beer for the better part of two days. After that, it just needs a quick stint on a hot grill before being chopped and eaten with steaming hot tortillas.
Why I picked this recipe: I couldn't cook Choi cuisine without eating at least one taco.
What worked: This recipe couldn't be easier, and the complexity of the marinade really pays off in the final taco—you don't need more than a pinch of chopped onion and a handful of cilantro to finish the dish.
What didn't: Be sure to generously salt the marinade. Choi doesn't provide measurements, so I'd start with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and go from there.
Suggested tweaks: This recipe is only for the steak itself. To complete the dish, chop the rested steak into bite-sized pieces and serve on warmed tortillas with chopped onion, cilantro, and salsa (if desired). Leftovers (if you've got them) also make a killer steak salad. If you can't stomach grilling in cold weather, you can sear the steak inside on a griddle or cast-iron skillet; you'll need to cut the long steak into smaller pieces if you don't have a griddle.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.