Fajitas (and tacos) – a very sociable way to eat
Fajitas generate familial goodwill; their informality and simplicity encourages a spirit of communal enterprise where everybody can help prepare the meal. Fajitas are for sharing; the passing and distributing of bowls, dishes and tortillas stimulates co-operation and easy conversation – and fajitas are finger food; do provide knives and forks, but the easiest way to eat a fajita is with your hands.
What is a fajita?
A fajita refers to the way the meat is cut into strips, not a type of taco. Fajita is Spanish for strip, sash or belt and it is used to describe the skirt or flank cut of beef – the band of muscle around the abdomen (the cut of meat traditionally used for fajitas). I use any type of meat for fajitas; especially leftover roast meat (as in the photo above). Onglet steak would be excellent, however, like skirt and flank it will need marinating and extra prep work. Beef steak, lamb leg steak, chicken breast or pork fillet are the easiest and quickest meats to use – and they can all be cut into ‘strips’.
Fajitas are also fun to cook…
I remember many years ago, eating in a Mexican restaurant in southern California, where the cooking took place in a large exposed open kitchen. When fajitas were ordered, the chefs – with great bravado – would spring into action: meat, onions, peppers, garlic and chilli would be tossed, banged and seared in large pans over red-hot coals and leaping flames. In a final flourish, the fajitas were piled onto smoking cast iron serving pans, where they sizzled, spat and steamed. Every time I make fajitas I imagine I am one of the chefs back at that restaurant.