I was born and raised in El Paso and am a border town girl all the way. If you ask anyone who is from El Paso you will hear the same thing — the food is so unique and delicious. So many people assume since it’s Texas the cuisine must be Tex-Mex. On the contrary, the town is so close to Mexico that the cuisine is closer to traditional Mexican fare. Our old family home was just a mile from the Juarez, Mexico border. Growing up I ate the most authentic Mexican food made with love by grandmother who was born in Chihuahua, Mexico; and my mother who was born and raised in El Paso is a fantastic cook too.
I moved to Arizona after high school, but my taste buds never left El Paso. I yearned constantly for authentic Mexican food. This tampiqueña steak was one of the meals I craved most often, and I’d order this steak at my favorite restaurants as soon as I visited home. It’s normally a large serving, usually served with an enchilada, refried beans, arroz, guacamole, chips, and tortillas. It can be quite filling, so I’ve lightened the dish and let the grilled avocado share the spotlight.
The word “tampiqueña” refers to a Mexican style of cooking steak that originated from the Tampico Club in Mexico City in 1939. The steak is first seasoned and grilled with salt and pepper, then combined with freshly-roasted, long green chile and shredded Mexican cheese. The steak is broiled until all the ingredients are hot and juicy and the meat is cooked to perfection. This dish is quite simple. The chiles add a lively flavor and the cheese compliments the meat.
You might be wondering why you would grill an avocado. The avocado and the grill were simply made for each other. The grill intensifies the avocado’s flavor and makes it smoky. When ripe, these fruits remain sturdy on the grill and are delicious when served warm with a meal, alone as an appetizer, or mashed into a smoky guacamole. Creamy, buttery, and luxurious, avocados are a natural fit with Mexican dishes like this tampiqueña steak. Ole!
Tampiqueña Steaks served with Grilled Avocados
4 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed, and cut into ½-inch strips
4 New York strips, 2 to 3-inches thick
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded Oaxaca or asadero cheese
Rajas (Chile Strips):
Select firm, meaty peppers without wrinkles. Rinse thoroughly to remove dust particles.
Place peppers evenly in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Pierce each chile with a knife.
Place under broiler. Watch them closely as the skin will blister and turn black within minutes. Turn the peppers after 3 to 5 minutes to blister all sides evenly. When done, the pepper skins should be evenly blistered and mostly black.
Place roasted peppers in a plastic bag, cover with a wet kitchen towel and when cool, peel off blackened skin. Tear open and pull out the seed pod. Cut the stem off and slice lengthwise into strips that are about a 1/2″ inch wide.
Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat grill on medium high heat. Place steaks on grill and cook the meat for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, with the lid down for medium-rare to medium steaks. Cook longer depending on your desired doneness.
Remove the steaks and transfer to a foil lined baking sheet and allow them to rest a few minutes.
Add chile strips and sprinkle cheese and place in broiler till cheese melts and bubbles for 2 to 3 minutes.
2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Seasoned salt, to taste
Fresh basil, chopped
Cut avocado in half and remove seed. Drizzle with fresh lime or lemon juice and brush lightly with olive oil. Gently place cut-side down and grill for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt, to taste. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil and serve in shell or sliced.
Serve the tampiqueña steak with half a grilled avocado, a side of pinto beans and grilled green onions.
Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack is the writer at the award winning blog, MuyBuenoCookbook.com. She also is a professional recipe developer and food writer, and is the co-author of Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor. You can watch a trailer for the book here.