This is the classic Mexican preparation that makes the most incredible tacos. These are assembled the traditional way, with just the meat, some chopped onion and cilantro, and a sprinkling of fresh lime. Once you get used to this kind of purity, you’ll have a hard time dealing with what usually passes for a taco. —Mario Batali
extra-virgin olive oil
medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
medium poblano peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
canned plum tomatoes, drained
salt, plus more for grilling
medium red onion, finely chopped
cilantro to yield 1 cup, loosely packed
freshly squeezed lime juice (2 to 3 limes)
Place a skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and when it gets hot, add the yellow onion and pepper and cook until they soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook 1 minute more. Add the plum tomatoes and salt, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 minutes more.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until just smooth.
Place the skirt steaks in a resealable plastic freezer bag and add half of the purée, making sure they are completely coated. Keep refrigerated or in a cold ice chest for up to 72 hours.
When you’re ready to grill them, salt the steaks and grill them over medium-high heat, turning once, until they are a deep, rich brown on both sides, about 9 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix together the chopped red onion, cilantro, and lime juice.
Cut the steaks into 1/2-inch slices. Put a few slices in a warmed tortilla and add a heaping tablespoon of the onion/cilantro mixture. Squeeze some lime over the meat and then a tablespoon of the puréed sauce. Repeat to make 8 tacos.
Mario Batali counts 25 restaurants, 11 cookbooks, numerous television shows and the 50,000-square-foot Eataly marketplace among his ever-expanding empire of deliciousness. His latest book is "America Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers" (Grand Central Life & Style, 2014).