Preparation info

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Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

This is, to my taste, one of the greatest Tex-Mex dishes. I first sampled it at a backyard outing several years ago on a visit to San Antonio. The name of the dish is pronounced fah-HEAT-ahs. It consists of well-trimmed skirt steak, grilled quickly, and placed in the center of flour tortillas. You top the meat with a well-seasoned guacamole, a layer of Mexican table sauce, and the fiery hot garnish known as pico de gallo, or “rooster’s beak.” The latter is made with chopped jalapeño peppers and fresh coriander, and it does enliven the palate. You fold over the sides and bottom of the tortillas to enclose the filling. To balance this fiery dish, you serve a small portion of pinto beans cooked with tomatoes and fresh coriander on the side. Altogether it is a glorious combination of flavors to be eaten indoors or in the open air.



  • Preheat a charcoal fire.
  • The skirt steak should be as free of surface fat as possible. Place each steak on a flat surface and, using a sharp knife, carefully trim away most of the fat. Trim well on all sides.
  • Cut each steak crosswise into 3- or 4- inch pieces, each about 6 inches long.
  • Place each piece of meat on the flat surface and, holding a sharp slicing knife parallel to the cutting surface, cut each piece of meat, sandwich-style, into 2 thin rectangles. Count on 4 or 5 slices per person.
  • Blend the garlic, lime juice, water, salt, and pepper in a flat plate. Make layers of the meat slices, brushing a little of the sauce between each layer.
  • Brush the top of the grill with a little oil. Add the meat slices and cook about 2 minutes on each side, turning once. Meanwhile, heat a nonstick skillet and cook each flour tortilla briefly to heat through. The tortillas must remain soft.
  • To serve, let the guests help themselves. Arrange equal portions of the meat on each of 6 preheated plates. To assemble, the portion of meat is arranged in the center of a tortilla; a little guacamole is smeared on top of the meat; a small amount of Mexican table sauce is spooned on top of the guacamole, and a small amount of pico de gallo is spooned over all. The sides of the tortilla are folded over and the bottom of the tortilla is folded up to prevent dripping. Small bowls of the hot beans are served on the side.