Anyone who has worked in a restaurant can attest to the fact that some dishes sell themselves while others need to be described in-depth. Fajitas don’t need description. When a server walks by a table with a sizzling platter, its enticing fragrance wafting through the air, “I’ll have one of those” can be heard all over the restaurant.
But fajitas are often not executed well in a restaurant. The same cumin-heavy marinade that makes it smell so good when it passes by your table can be overpowering when it’s coating chicken or shrimp, peppers and onions.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. The fajitas are a solid concept that deserves to be done well. The good news is it’s not hard to do. I like to make a simple marinade of lime, Mexican beer and cilantro. Then, instead of sizzling the chicken (my protein of choice) and veggies on a cast-iron skillet, I turn them into kebabs and cook them on the grill, which adds an extra smoky dimension.
While I enjoy cooking with cumin, I often feel it’s overdone in Mexican restaurants. The strongly flavored spice can overwhelm other ingredients in simple dishes, so for this recipe I leave it out.
Skewering the meat and veggies lets you grill them easily, but even better, it makes the fajitas more fun to eat, with or without a side of warm tortillas and salsa. When I’m cooking for kids, “fun” is a strong selling point that can make certain ingredients, namely vegetables, even more appealing. And fun this is.
Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.