Thinly sliced sirloin steak or flank steak makes the best steak quesadillas.
Rach's tip: When a recipe calls for slicing meat before cooking it, stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up for easy slicing.
- 1 pound thin sirloin steaks (½ inch thick each), or 1 pound flank steak
- 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, thinly sliced and seeded (for less heat) or chopped with seeds and membranes (for more heat)
- ½ small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 limes, juiced (about ¼ cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tomatoes on the vine, seeded and chopped
- One handful fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems, finely chopped
- Cayenne hot sauce (Rach's go-to is Frank's RedHot)
- 1 large Haas avocado, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (Rach likes Gebhardt)
- 3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
- 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper (any color), seeded and chopped
- ¼ cup drained mild or hot pickled jalapeño slices
- 4 large (10-inch) flour tortillas
- Cooking spray
- 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, pepper Jack, or Monterey Jack
- Mexican crema or sour cream, for serving
Freeze the steaks until slightly firm, about 5 minutes.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high to high.
In 2 medium bowls, divide the chiles, red onion, and half the lime juice. Add a quarter of the grated garlic to each bowl; season with salt. Let stand for a few minutes. To one bowl, add the tomatoes, some cilantro, and a few dashes of hot sauce for the pico de gallo. In the other bowl, using a potato masher or fork, mash in the avocado for the guacamole.
Thinly slice the steaks against the grain; season with salt, pepper, and the spices.
Add 2 tablespoons oil, two turns of the pan, to the skillet. Add the beef in a single layer and cook until brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the beef over and cook until browned, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, one turn of the pan, to the skillet. Add the white onion, bell pepper, and pickled jalapeños and cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Mix in the beef and remove from heat.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium. Spray 1 tortilla lightly with cooking spray and add to the skillet, sprayed-side down. Scatter a quarter of the cheese on top. Arrange about a quarter of the beef and vegetables on 1 side of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla over the filling and cook, turning once, until golden and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese, beef, and vegetables.
Cut the quesadillas into wedges. Serve with the crema, guacamole, and pico.