Perfect fajita tips

Feb 8, 2011 at 1:18 a.m. ET

Making fajitas is a fun, tasty dinner option. From marinated cuts of meat to seafood, there are plenty of scrumptious and healthy fajita options sure to please your toughest critics. On a mission to make the perfect fajita? Check out these expert fajita tips to get the fiesta started!

Chicken fajita

According to Chef Betty Fraser, co-owner of Hollywood restaurant Grub and As You Like It Catering, fajitas are the perfect people-pleaser. "Marinated cuts of meat or seafood cooked over hot coals, sliced and placed into warm tortillas for folks to adorn as they like isn't only tasty, but fun!"

Now that your taste buds are tempted, check out these tips on how to make the perfect fajita!

1Can't stand the heat?

Fraser recommends using a protein with medium-to-high fat content so it can withstand the heat while cooking. "While skirt steak or chicken are usually associated with fajitas, I also enjoy working with swordfish or tuna. I like using par-cooked flour tortillas that I can finish on an open fire grill which brings that subtle, charred smokiness to the dish," Fraser said.

2Marinate, marinate, marinate

Always marinate your meats. "It really enhances the flavors of the proteins," Fraser said.

Chef Frank Johnson, executive chef at Roaring Fork, Stonelake, in Austin, Texas, agrees. "Marinating the meat is critical," he said. "For beef or chicken, a simple marinade is all you need, with basics like garlic (either fresh or in powder form), oil, some kind of citrus (usually lime), salt and pepper."

When using any citrus fruits in your marinade, Johnson advises taking it easy. "Too much lime or lemon can actually start cooking the meat like a ceviche, so you have to find the right balance," he said.

3Raise your spirits

"When it comes to your marinades, have fun with different spirits," Fraser said. "I recommend tequila, gin or bourbon to provide a great flavor and to assist in tenderizing the meat." But, Fraser points out, it's important to use caution when placing alcohol-marinated meat on the grill as it can cause "fire ups."

4Bring on the heat

Grilled onions and peppers are a must for fajitas, but that doesn't mean you can't get creative. "Try different types of onions and peppers, especially if you're a fan of heat. Grilled red jalapenos make a great addition," Fraser recommends.

5Serve with citrus

Fraser suggests serving a fresh citrus for your family to season their fajitas. What to serve? "While limes are standard, fruits like oranges and grapefruits work great too, and also add a unique flavor," Fraser said.

6Spice up your sour cream

Sour cream is the perfect addition to any fajita recipe. Fraser recommends getting creative by adding ground cinnamon to your sour cream to produce a spicy, earthy kick. "Mexican crema is also an outstanding choice," she said.

Up next: A perfect fajita recipe >>

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