flank steak fajitas with smoked paprika crema

This dish was inspired by a farm share delivery late in the summer, when we received approximately 4 pounds of green bell peppers. One of the most obvious uses for green peppers is fajitas, but my husband and I decided to spice it up the standar fajita recipe with some unusual ingredients, including green onions (for added texture and color) and smoked paprika (for added spice and smokiness). I would recommend pairing this dish with a spicy Zinfandel or a well-rounded beer such as an amber ale.

  • Flank steak (approximately 1 pound in weight, 1/2-inch thick)

  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons total)

  • Sea salt (3 teaspoons total)

  • Smoked paprika (3 teaspoons total)

  • Garlic powder (1 teaspoon)

  • Red chili powder (2 teaspoons total)

  • Butter (1 tablespoon)

  • White onion (1 large, cut into slices)

  • Green bell peppers (4 large, cut into slices)

  • Portobello mushrooms (2 large, cut into slices)

  • Green onions (2 large bunches, with ends trimmed, and cut in half)

  • Sour cream (2 tablespoons)

  • Lime zest (from 1 large lime)

  • Lime juice (from 1 large lime; approximately 2 teaspoons)

  • Fresh garlic (1 teaspoon, minced)

  • Cotija cheese (2 tablespoons, shredded)

  1. Unwrap the raw steak and place in a shallow dish. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of chili powder on top of the steak. Using tongs or a fork, turn the steak around in the spice mixture, ensuring that it is evenly coated. 

  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a deep cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the steak and cook for 3 minutes on one side. Turn and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until steak is medium rare.

  3. Remove steak to a cutting board and let rest until you are ready to serve.

  4. In the same skillet, first add the white onion slices. Saute over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove to a large mixing bowl.

  5. In the same skillet, add the green pepper slices. Saute over medium heat until lightly browned and softened, approximately 4 minutes. Be sure to taste and add salt as you cook. When cooked through, remove pepper slices to the same large mixing bowl.

  6. Add the mushroom pieces to the skillet. Cook until softened but not soggy, approximately 3 minutes. Add to the large mixing bowl.

  7. Finally, add the green onion pieces to the skillet; these will cook quickly. Turn with tongs until lightly brown and add to the mixing bowl.

  8. Using a spatula, gently toss the cooked vegetables together and taste for seasoning; add additional salt if needed.

  9. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, sour cream, garlic, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Adjust with additional salt as needed. The crema will be tangy and should be smooth enough to drizzle over the dish.

  10. To assemble the dish, transfer the vegetables to a large serving platter. Top with slices of cooked flank steak. Drizzle the crema over the entire dish and garnish with cotija cheese and additional smoked paprika.