This recipe is essentially a build-your-own burrito dinner except that it relies on Middle Eastern rather than Mexican ingredients. It's a crowd-pleaser, even if I do say so myself, because everyone is free to choose his or her own fillings. Admittedly, the number of parts in this recipe might make it appear rather time-consuming, but all the elements together form a complete meal. In fact, the prep is easy, and most of the components can be made in advance. Nothing to do then but spread out all the prepared dishes on the table and invite your guests to customize.
Sara Moulton is the host of "Sara's Weeknight Meals," a public television show now in its sixth season. She writes a weekly column for the Associated Press and is the author of four cookbooks, including, most recently, "Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better."
MIDDLE EASTERN BURRITOS
--For the pickled red onion
1 cup sliced (about 1/4-inch thick) red onion
3/4 cup cider vinegar11/2 tablespoons sugar11/2 teaspoons pickling spice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt1 clove garlic, smashed
--For the carrot salad
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
12 ounces carrots, scrubbed well and coarsely grated
11/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup pimento-stuffed olives, chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins
--For the hummus
2 cups homemade or store-bought plain hummus (see recipe online)
--For the herb salad
11/2 cups cilantro leaves
11/2 cups flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
--For the burritos
11/4 to 11/2 pounds skirt steak, cut crosswise into several pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Twelve 6-inch flour tortillas
---Preparations --For the pickled red onion: Combine the red onion, vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, salt and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
When cool, strain and discard the liquid, the garlic and the larger pieces of pickling spice. (If you have a tea ball, you can put the pickling spices in the tea ball when you add them to the liquid, so that you don't need to fish them out afterward.) Transfer to a serving bowl.
--For the carrot salad: Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the cumin seed and toast, stirring, until they smell fragrant and turn a shade darker. Remove from the heat; stir in the paprika and cayenne pepper. Let cool.
Toss the carrots with the oil-cumin seed mixture, the lemon juice (to taste), a pinch of salt and a hefty pinch of sugar, the olives and raisins. Transfer to a serving bowl.
--For the hummus: Place in a serving bowl.
--For the herb salad: Combine the cilantro, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil in a serving bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper, tossing to incorporate.
--For the burritos: Season the steak pieces lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat the oil in a skillet large enough to hold all the meat, over high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the steak and immediately reduce the heat to medium-high; cook it for 3 minutes per side (medium-rare).
Transfer the steak to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Cut it thinly, against the grain. Transfer to a platter and pour the resting juices over the meat.
Meanwhile, either wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and warm them in a 300-degree oven for 10 minutes, or brown them briefly on both sides in a preheated cast-iron skillet and then wrap in foil to keep warm.