1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 pounds flank steak, trimmed of surface fat and silverskin
4 to 6 poblano chiles
2 large onions, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
Toothpicks for securing onion slices on grill
12 to 16 corn tortillas
2 limes, cut into wedges, optional
The day before you plan to make the tacos, combine the heavy cream and buttermilk in a glass bowl or jar with a lid and stir or shake well to blend thoroughly. Allow to sit in a warm place, unrefrigerated, until cream is thickened and somewhat “set,” up to 6 hours. Shake well and refrigerate overnight before using.
In a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, combine 1/2 cup of the onion, the garlic, 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, half of the lime juice, cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Process until smooth. Place the flank steak in a shallow non-reactive dish and spoon the marinade over the meat. Turn the steak so that both sides of the meat are in contact with the marinade and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally.
While the meat is marinating, prepare the poblanos: Place the poblanos over a direct flame and roast, turning occasionally with tongs, until the skin is charred and blistered all over. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes. Remove the poblanos and, when cool enough to handle, carefully remove the charred skin by rubbing with your fingers. Remove the stems and any seeds and, if necessary, rinse briefly under cool running water to remove any remaining skin. Slice the poblanos into thin strips and place in a small mixing bowl. Set aside at room temperature for up to 2 hours, until ready to serve the tacos. (Poblanos may be roasted 2 days in advance and kept refrigerated in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Preheat a grill to high.
Place the onion slices on a flat surface and insert 1 or 2 toothpicks into the concentric rings in order to hold the rings together on the grill. Brush the slices on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil and place the onion slices on the grill. Grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on the edges and soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the toothpicks from the onion slices and add the onions to the poblanos, separating the onion rings with your fingers. Toss to combine. The heat from the hot onion slices will warm the poblanos. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice and season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside until ready to serve the tacos.
Remove the meat from the marinade and shake or use a spoon to remove any excess. Rub the meat all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and season on both sides with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Grill the steak, turning once, to the desired degree of doneness; for medium rare, this should be 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
While the meat is resting, heat the corn tortillas as instructed on the package. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.
When the meat has rested, slice against the grain into very thin strips and serve, with the warm tortillas, poblano-onion mixture and crema. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.