Nick Fitzgerald has shared a recipe for Carne Asada tacos ahead of this year’s Meatopia London.
One of the city’s best known food festivals, Meatopia London will return this year. Taking placed from 3rd – 5th September 2021, the festival will return to its home at Tobacco Dock for its eighth year, celebrating all things food, drink, fire, and music.
Founded in the United States by the late food writer Josh Ozersky, Meatopia was first brought to the UK by a trio of passionate food enthusiasts, with more than 60 live fire chefs from all over the world using the festival as a stage to cook a dish over sustainably-sourced wood and charcoal. An extensive selection of beers, fine wines, and cocktails will also be served across the weekend, with live music, DJs, and a programme of demos and talks on Meatopia’s Cutting Room stage.
As always, the line-up for Meatopia London will be unveiled in full closer to the festival, but chefs already confirmed to take up a grill at the event include Roberta Hall-McCarron of The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh; Brad Carter, owner Carters of Moseley in Birmingham; 12:51 restaurant owner and Head Chef James Cochran; Karan Gokani of Hoppers; the chefs behind From The Ashes; and Freddie Janssen of Dalston cafe Snackbar.
Ahead of this year’s festival, Nick Fitzgerald, the chef behind Borough Market taco kitchen, Tacos Padre, has shared a ‘#MeatopiaAtHome’ recipe for carne asada tacos – his debut dish at Meatopia 2019.
- 500-800 g bavette steak preferably dry-aged
- Fine salt
- 12 good quality taco tortillas or you can make them yourself using the method below if you have a taco press
- 6 limes quartered
- 2 avocados sliced
- Small bunch coriander roughly chopped
Rub for the Bavette
- 35 g paprika
- 15 g oregano
- 10 g cracked black pepper
For the Burnt Shallots with Habanero Vinegar
- 6 banana shallots
- 1 habanero
- 200 ml cider vinegar
- 50 g aged beef fat
For the Pico de Gallo
- 50 g white onion
- 300 g tomato
- 1 jalapeño
- Small bunch coriander
- Lime juice to taste
For the Tortillas (if making your own)
- 100 g harina de maiz for every 90g of water. (To make 12 tacos, you’ll need approximately 300g harina de maiz and 270g water)
- If you’re making the tacos from scratch, measure out your harina de maiz and gradually add the water until you get a clay-like consistency that doesn’t stick to your hands. You might need to use more or less water depending on your flour and the conditions. Roll them into 40g balls ready to press.
- Salt the meat all over to season and leave to sit for 5 minutes until it begins to sweat slightly. This allows for the rub to stick to the meat well. Mix together the dry rub ingredients and rub all over your steak. You can do this a few hours or even the day before if you want a more intense flavour. Set aside to come to room temperature while your fire heats up and you prepare the rest of the dish.
- To make the burnt shallots with habanero vinegar, split the shallots in half (with the skins still on) from end to tip. Place them, cut side down, onto a hot grill and let them burn slightly for a good, heavy char. Meanwhile, burn your habanero in the same way and then blend it with the cider vinegar. Dice the beef fat and render it in a pan over a low heat. When the shallots are nicely charred, flip them over and place on a lower heat. Spoon some of the habanero vinegar into the insides of the shallots. They will bubble away quietly — when they are soft and have changed colour, remove from the heat. Allow to cool and then remove the skins. Slice them and transfer to a bowl. Returning to the fat, which should now be rendered with some crispy bits. Dress the shallots with a few spoonfuls of the rest of the habanero vinegar and a couple more of the rendered beef fat. Add some sliced coriander stems and a little salt.
- Next, make your pico de gallo. You want to dice all the ingredients to roughly the same size, except for the coriander. So dice your tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño (taste a slice first to see how hot it is, and adjust the quantity depending on your preference). Finely slice the coriander, mix everything together, season and set aside.
- If you’re making homemade tacos, press each ball into a circle and place over a flat pan over the heat. Cook on each side until they start to puff up, then set aside in a tea towel to keep them warm.
- Once the meat has come to room temp and your fire is hot, it’s time to start grilling. How long it takes to cook depends on the thickness of your bavette and how hot the grill is. For a bavette 500-800g to be medium, it should need about 3 minutes on each side plus resting time on a wire rack. If you want to check how cooked it is, press in the centre — the firmer it feels, the more well-done it is. Once your meat is grilled and has had time to rest, slice it against the grain into thick strips.
- To assemble your taco, lay a tortilla on a plate, place some strips of bavette on top (don’t overfill it, part of the art of a taco making is to not overfill), sprinkle with salt, then spoon over your burnt shallot mix, a few crispy pieces from your beef fat, some slices of avocado, a little more salt and a squeeze of lime, and finally some chopped coriander leaves.
- Repeat until it’s all gone, and enjoy with a very cold beer!
Admission to Meatopia London is ticketed and pre-booked. On each day of the festival, 25-40 chefs create one bespoke dish each, and cook it over live fire. Dishes are all priced the same and are purchased ‘Meatbucks’, which are purchased before the festival with your tickets, or from the roving ‘MeatBuckaneers’. Further information on Meatopia London can be found here.