Here at Bon Appétit, we publish upwards of 40 recipes a month, and we’ve been doing that for, oh, more than 50 years now. We spend countless hours obsessively testing and tasting and tweaking them to make sure that every recipe is the best that it possibly can be. And while some are instant classics, there are those that, inevitably, fall between the cracks. Rediscovering the one of these forgotten gems, months, years, even decades later, is like finding a twenty-spot in the dryer—you had it all along, but it fills you with unreasonable glee. They’re our Sleeper Hits. And when we get excited about them, you know you’re going to hear about it.

Last weekend, I found myself with a dilemma on my hands. I was lounging in the backyard on a beautiful, lazy Sunday, trying to figure out how to turn skirt steak into dinner for a few friends. And while nobody was going to get mad about plain ol’ grilled steak with green sauce, or steak tacos, or steak salad, I was hesitant. Those are my no-brainer, slam-dunk summer go-tos, and I didn’t want to show all my cards too early in the season. Enter Pickled Beef Tostadas.

My mind had wandered back to some ceviche tostadas I had eaten a month or two ago in Los Angeles. Craving that intense acid-heat-crunch-protein combo that led me to return to the same Mexican food truck three times in 24 hours, my mind wandered even further back, to the Cook Like a Pro package from the April 2014 issue of this magazine. There was a blurb about Danny Bowien, chef of Mission Cantina (NYC) and Mission Chinese Food (NYC & SF), tossing grilled cubed beef with a tangy, fiery marinade and using it as a topping for crisp tostadas. It sounded perfect.

So I looked up the recipe and riffed on it. I lit my charcoal chimney, and while it heated up, I smashed together a quick guacamole and mixed up a makeshift leche de tigre—the potent sauce at the base of any good ceviche —with lots of lime and lemon juice, fish sauce, jalapeños, and toasted cumin seeds. I seasoned my steak lightly, charred it quickly on the hot grill to medium-rare, and cut it up into quarter-inch chunks before tossing it with the tangy sauce. We schmeared crisp tostadas with the guac, mounded on the beef that had been left to marinate for fifteen minutes, added some coins of radish and cilantro for crunch, and topped them all with drizzles of rich yogurt and lashes of hot sauce. One bite and I knew I had a sleeper hit on my hands, the kind of recipe that would be in heavy rotation all summer long.

You need this recipe in your life. It’s delicious. It’s unexpected. It’s grilled but served at room temp, and stretches a relatively small amount of meat a long way—perfect for summer entertaining. There’s no way I could, as one person, give this recipe all the love it deserves, though I’ll certainly try my hardest. Which is where you come in. If you don’t make this recipe for its sake, make it for your own.

Get the recipe: Pickled Beef Tostadas with Tomatillo Salsa

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from Bon Appétit