This is one of those recipes that feels a little trashy, but it’s so good you won’t care.
In case you haven’t heard of it, Frito pie is a thing. It happens to be particularly popular in the South and Southwest, but there’s no reason the rest of the country can’t dig in. The most basic versions of this utter comfort food heap hot chili and cheese on top of a mound of Fritos corn chips. Sometimes salsa, beans and chilies are added. And if you want to get all fancy about it, you can ladle the chili right into single-serving bags of the chips.
But I decided to turn this dish into a treat for a crowd by heaping a whole mess of it onto a platter and inviting everyone to dig in. I also decided to lose the chili in favour of a flavourfully marinated flank steak. But if you’re a purist, there’s no reason you couldn’t substitute your favourite chili for the steak. Or be crazy and do both. And if you’re so inclined, don’t hesitate to add salsa and sour cream to this.
FLANK STEAK FRITO PIE
Start to finish: 1 hour (20 minutes active)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds flank steak
1 large yellow onion, cut into 3 thick rounds
9.75-ounce bag Fritos corn chips
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
1 lime, halved
Salsa and sour cream, to serve (optional)
In a large zip-close plastic bag, mix together the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the oil, the vinegar, garlic powder and pepper. Add the steak, seal the bag, then gently turn to coat evenly. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. Alternatively, the steak can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours, but should sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
When ready to cook, heat a grill to medium-high.
Brush the onion rounds on both sides with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil, then set them on the grill. Remove the steak from the marinade and place on the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. When the steak is done, transfer it and the onions to a platter and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the Fritos evenly over a serving platter. When the steak has rested, slice it thinly across the grain, then mound the slices over the corn chips. Roughly chop the grilled onion rounds, then scatter those over the steak. Top everything with the avocado, cilantro and jalapeno (if using), then squeeze the lime halves over everything. Dollop with salsa and sour cream, if using. Serve immediately.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at www.LunchBoxBlues.com.