Food & Drink

Danny Trejo’s steak asada taco

The key to this dish is a citrusy marinade for the steak.

Danny Trejo’s steak asada taco
Danny Trejo's steak asada taco Danny Trejo’s steak asada taco

This taco dish was acclaimed food writer Anthony Bourdain’s favourite dish, Danny Trejo says.

Bourdain filmed an episode of his CNN show Parts Unknown in one of Trejo’s taco joints in Los Angeles back in 2017.

Trejo told The Hollywood Reporter that the chef “made me feel good that I was in the restaurant business”.

Steak asada taco


(Serves 4)

For the marinade:

½ large white onion, roughly chopped

3 chipotle chillies from a can of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce,

plus 2tbsp of the sauce

2 medium jalapeños, roughly chopped

6 garlic cloves

½ cup roughly chopped fresh coriander

¾ cup orange juice (preferably fresh)

½ cup pure olive oil

¼ cup soy sauce

Juice of 1 lemon

1tbsp ground cumin

1tbsp smoked paprika

For the taco:

12 tortillas

250g flank steak

50ml Trejo’s marinade

Salt and pepper to taste

For the salsa verde (makes about 2 cups):

12 medium tomatillos, papery skin removed, tomatillos left whole

1 medium jalapeño, left whole

2 garlic cloves

½ medium white onion

¼ cup chopped fresh coriander

Juice of 1 lime, plus extra to taste

1tbsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste

For the verde slaw:

200g white cabbage

50g red cabbage

15g grated carrot

50ml salsa verde

5g sea salt

For the garnish:

Pinch of chopped coriander

1 lime, quartered

Danny Trejo's steak asada taco
Danny Trejo's steak asada taco Danny Trejo’s steak asada taco (Ed Anderson/PA)


1. For the marinade: Combine the onion, chipotles and sauce, jalapeños, garlic, coriander, orange juice, olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, cumin, and paprika in a food processor or blender and puree. Transfer the marinade to a large self-seal plastic bag or airtight container.

2. For the salsa verde: Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat until it is very hot, about four minutes. Add the whole tomatillos and jalapeño. They should sizzle when they hit the dry hot pan. Cook until the vegetables are black and blistered in spots and soft on one side, five to seven minutes. Use tongs to turn the tomatillos and jalapeño over. Add the garlic cloves. Cook the tomatillos, jalapeño and garlic until the tomatillos and jalapeño are blistered and the garlic cloves are toasted but not burned, five to seven minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Transfer the tomatillos, jalapeño and garlic to a blender or food processor and add the onion, coriander, lime juice and salt. Process until the sauce is completely smooth. Taste and add more salt or lime juice if desired. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and chill before serving, or refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to five days.

3. Marinade flank steak in Trejo’s marinade for at least 30 minutes.

4. Grill steak until charred, about five minutes on each side (depending on size).

5. Shred the cabbage for the verde slaw, add carrot, salt and salsa verde and reserve for later.

6. Heat up the tortilla, top the tortilla with steak asada, verde slaw and salsa verde.

Trejo's Tacos by Danny Trejo

Trejo’s Tacos: Recipes And Stories From LA by Danny Trejo is published in hardback by Penguin Random House, priced £23. Book and cover design by Jen Wang, photography by Ed Anderson. Available now.