While carne asada is almost perfect by itself, you can make it even tastier by plating it with classic accompaniments. The sliced beef main course as well as the chopped taco and salad versions work beautifully with a few simple arrangements. While there are no rules from experts regarding foods to pair with carne asada, follow the example of how restaurants present this dish.
White or Yellow Rice
A scoop of white Mexican rice works well with carne asada, providing a simple but flavorful complement and supporting the juicy steak as you present it in the traditional dome or scoop shape. Add guacamole or avocado, or onions or scallions, to round out the presentation.
Halve a traditional recipe, such as Mexican food doyenne Diana Kennedy's description of how to make arroz blanco, or white rice. Soak 1 cup of long-grain white rice in hot water while you saute several tablespoons of chopped onion and a garlic clove in cooking oil. Drain the rice and stir it into the sauted onion. Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of chicken broth. Cook on a low flame until all of the stock is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Let the rice sit with a towel on top of it for 15 minutes.
Under the Dome
Shape the rice into a dome, either beside the beef or underneath, with the carne asada and its juices flowing down its sides. To achieve this look, press the cooked rice into an oiled bowl around 3 inches across and push firmly so it will hold its shape and so it is level with the rim of the bowl. Place your plate over the bowl, and hold the plate and bowl firmly together. Flip the bowl on top of the plate and remove it.
You can also present the carne asada and rice a few different ways:
- Drape the thin, pliable sheet of cooked carne asada over the rice.
- Place the carne asada directly on the plate beside the rice, with a few sliced radishes.
- Add refried beans to the rice and carne asada.
Avocado or Scallions
Add to your plate either a halved avocado or guacamole, as well as fresh or grilled scallions or lightly sauteed, sliced onions -- or, as recommended by Mexican cookbook author Rick Bayless, sliced onions tossed in oil and grilled with the steak.
Tacos and Salads
- For a taco: Wrap a corn tortilla around carne asada simply garnished with cojita, a Mexican crumbly white cheese, diced onions, chopped cilantro and guacamole or pico de gallo. Goat cheese can substitute for the cojita, and you can dice or chop the carne asada if you prefer.
- In a salad: Slice the carne asada into strips and lay it atop a base of romaine, sliced avocado, scallions, cotija, lime juice and salsa, advises the cookbook "Quick & Easy Mexican Cooking."