I meant to have these Carne Asada Shoestring Fries ready in time for the Super Bowl. Since the Super Bowl is today, I’m willing to wager you already have your snacks figured out. Ah well. To be fair, you shouldn’t take football snacking advice from me. I am not a football fan. Heck! I’m not even American. I don’t know the first thing about the Super Bowl and, to be honest, I’m probably not going to watch it. But having said that, I do enjoy watching the food. There’s something quite exciting about seeing all the things people try to give the Buffalo wing treatment to.
Every February, my various social media feeds are inundated with food, glorious food. This, in and of itself, is not remarkable. From where I’m standing Instagram is completely and totally made up of pie and pasta. But at the beginning of February, the pies turn into chicken wings and the pasta into potato skins. It’s basically a pub food extravaganza and I get excited and want to join in.
So, here is my Super Bowl inspired offering: Carne Asada Shoestring Fries with Mango Salsa and Pickled Radishes. This dish is late and completely unnecessary given the vast amount of alternatives out there, but whatevs. To be honest, these fries are pretty flexible, by which I mean they aren’t fussy about context. I bet they’d be just as delicious if eaten during the NBA All-Star Game or throughout the entirety of March Madness. And hey! Baseball season is just around the corner, so you could easily make these fries an at-home ballpark snack. Can you tell my life revolves around baseball and basketball? Anyway, the point is, why limit your fry snacking opportunities to a single game?
Enough of justifying the existence of these fries. Let’s get down to the delicious nitty gritty. First off, these shoestring fries go out to all the peeps who live for the overdone, crispy fries at the bottom of the bag. Out of respect for your health and well-being, I decided to bake them and while they’re not *quite* as good as fried, they’re still damn satisfying. I cut the fries using the largest julienne blade on my mandoline and, I won’t lie to you, this method requires a fair bit of elbow grease. Initially, when I decided to go this route, Hickory Sticks were my intended reference. I renamed the fries to “shoestring” because I later learned that the rest of the world does not know the wonder of Hickory Sticks. I haven’t been this shook since I realized All Dressed was a Canadian-only chip flavor.
My absolute favorite quick pickle is pickled radishes. They taste great, they have a pleasant low-key crunch, and they turn a violent shade of fuschia. Fuschia! That color does not come up enough in nature. I like to pickle radishes alongside shallots and I use plain old white vinegar for the pickling solution. They really are dead simple to make and they bring a bright, playfulness to every dish they adorn. Honestly, it’s gotten to the point where my tacos feel incomplete without them. If you make nothing else associated with these Carne Asada Shoestring Fries, make the pickled radishes. You can put them anywhere you’d put a pickle…sorry, that sounded unintentionally dirty.
The rest of what you find on these Carne Asada Shoestring Fries are fairly straightforward. A spicy, sweet mango salsa that is really more of a pico de gallo, a flank steak marinated in all manner of citrus and spice, and finally, a healthy dollop of sour cream. It’s pretty much the taco’s greatest hits on top of borderline burnt mini fries. In other words, this dish is frickin’ delicious.
So, if you have a penchant for the fries at the bottom of the bag and find joy in naturally fuschia food items, these Carne Asada Shoestring Fries are for you. Who cares if you can’t make them for the Super Bowl? There a plenty of other sport and non-sport-related celebrations these fries a good for. Think outside the football box. Wait, is there a box in football??
- Carne Asada
- 1 lb / 0.45 kg flank steak
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 orange
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano (I used Mexican oregano)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 3 radishes, sliced thin
- 2 shallots, peeled & sliced thin
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 green mango, cut into chunks
- 1-2 jalapenos, quartered and sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 russet Potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar
- Fresh cilantro
- A dollop of sour cream
- Pat the steak dry with paper towel and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Place the steak in a resealable freezer bag and add the marinade. Seal the bag and shake to coat. Force the air out of the bag and reseal. Leave the steak to marinate for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook, heat a large, seasoned cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the steak and cook for 3-4 minutes a side.
- Transfer the steak to plate and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the finished steak into strips against the grain. Cut the strips into bite-sized pieces and set aside until ready to use.
- Place the radish and shallot slices in a small Mason jar.
- In a small bowl, whisk the salt, sugar and vinegar together until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Pour the pickling solution over the radish and shallot slices and seal the jar. Give the jar a couple of shakes, then place in the refrigerator. Leave the radishes to pickle for at least three hours or overnight.
- Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir. Transfer the salsa to the fridge and let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Chill until ready to use.
- Place the largest julienne blade in your mandoline. Cut the both potatoes into very thin fries and place them in a large colander. Rinse the fries and transfer them to a large bowl. Cover the fries in cold water and let sit for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Drain the fries and spread them out in an even layer on a large, clean kitchen towel. Place another kitchen towel on top and leave them to dry for 30 minutes.
- Place the dried fries in a large bowl and add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Divide the fries between two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake the fries for 10 minutes, then give both pans a shake and rotate them 180°. Bake for another 10 minutes or until crispy. Remove the fries from the oven and set aside until ready to use.
- Pile the fries on to a single baking sheet and cover with half of the cheese. Add the steak and cover with the remaining cheese. Place the fries under the broiler and broil until the cheese is melty, about 3-5 minutes depending on the strength of your broiler.
- Cover the fries with spoonfuls of mango salsa, pickled radish and shallot slices, and fresh cilantro. Finish the fries with a dollop of sour cream and serve immediately.