The high acidity and roasted smoky flavor of the tomatillos perfectly accents the earthy tones of the beef. The sauce does not contain any beef stock, and so seems lighter than a heavy reduced beef sauce, while the cheese provides a contrasting richness. Monterey Jack or soft Oaxaca cheese can be used as an alternative to Fontina.

With steaks at room temperature, season with salt and pepper. Over high heat, bring the olive oil almost to the smoking point in a heavy pan, then reduce heat to medium. Saute the beef for 4-5 minutes on each side, to medium-rare.

In a separate pan, soften the tortillas in heated corn oil; remove and dry excess oil on paper towels. Keep warm.

Place a warm tortilla on each plate, and the beef on top of the tortillas. Put cheese on top of each beef filet and place under a broiler until the cheese melts.

Surround the beef with about 3/4 cup tomatillo-chipotle sauce, covering the tortilla. Garnish by sprinkling about 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro over the beef, and serve 2 roasted cebollitas (green onions) with each plate.

Yield: 4 servings.

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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)