Tomorrow is Earth Day; and just like last year, I thought I’d share a dish that’s as local as I’m prepared to eat while living in the subarctic. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to eat locally, or that I dislike any of the food that we can get around here. But, as I pointed out before, this land is fairly barren 8 months of the year, with the exception of fresh-water fish and wild animals that roam the north. There’s no access to fruit and vegetables that were grown within a 100-mile radius of our home. So we combine produce from the southern States, Mexico, and South America with meat from Alberta and sometimes local fish and game.
So here is my closest approximation of a “Local Taco” – using only 1 local ingredient: Bison. And I’m okay with that. Bison is a delicious wild meat, that doesn’t have much of a gamey taste to it. Plus it’s fairly lean, making it a healthy alternative to beef from time-to-time. However, there is absolutely nothing else included in this taco that was grown or produced anywhere near where I live. I’ll take the compromise and walk to work as much as possible. Plus, we live in the Land of the Midnight Sun – which means for quite some time around the summer months, we have no need to turn on our lights. You’re welcome Mother Earth.
Bison Steak Tacos
This marinade would work well with various proteins. So if Bison isn’t a local meat near you, you could substitute beef, pork, chicken, shellfish, or any fresh or salt-water fish – hell, I won’t even judge if firm tofu is a local ingredient for you. Just reduce the marinade time to 1 hour if you’re using seafood, as the lime juice will end up cooking it eventually if left too long.
1 lb bison steak
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice – about 1 lime
2 Tbsp tequila
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili flakes
Pico de Gallo
2-3 roma tomatoes
1/2 white onion
juice from half lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
6-8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
Slice the bison steak into thin strips, against the grain. Combine the steak and remaining marinade ingredients (garlic through chili flakes) in a zip-top bag. Marinade in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
About a half hour before you’re ready to cook the steak, prepare the Pico de Gallo. Dice the tomatoes, mince the jalepeno (remove the seeds and insides of the jalepeno if you want it less spicy), and dice the onion. Combine the vegetables along with the lime juice, salt & pepper together in a bowl and set aside.
Preheat a grill pan or heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the half the bison on both sides for approximately 3 minutes a side (or less if you prefer the bison more rare) – remove the cooked bison to a plate and keep warm. Continue with remaining bison. Meanwhile cook tortillas according to directions.
When everything is cooked, serve the bison steak on corn tortillas with sour cream, pico de gallo, sliced avocado and shredded Monterey jack cheese.
Makes 6-8 tacos.