Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday Night Tacos

When I was a teenager, a group of friends over for dinner meant tacos. We would dirty every bowl in the kitchen giving each topping it's own real estate on the table; tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cheese, spanish olives, lettuce, homemade hot sauce and refried beans; it was fresh and delicious and mom didn't have to cook. 

About a year ago a friend recommended the restaurant El Parador, 325 East 34th Street, where my husband and I ate the best fish tacos we've ever had. I've never been to Mexico or Hawaii, where I hear they aren't half bad, but these were really f*#!ing good, especially for New York. Lightly fried mahi mahi, with lime, cilantro, radishes and farmers cheese, flavors I had never had on a taco before. 

Now I think you can put almost anything on a taco (there is a famous truck in LA, Kogi, that serves Korean bbq on a tortilla with an asian slaw on top, yum) but this is how I made them tonight (I was going to get shrimp but when I went to place my order, the fish monger pointed me in the direction of a ridiculously long line, it was 10am! and I think I just muttered "forget it" and ran off to the canned beans aisle, and I forgot to get farmers cheese so I stopped by Murray's cheese in Greenwhich Village but all they had was fresh ricotta, which turned out to be delicious):

Tuesday Night Tacos

1 tomato
1 yellow onion
1 serrano chile
1 avocado
1 lime
1 can organic black beans
romaine lettuce
corn tortillas
Farmers Cheese
sea salt

Beans: Drain and rinse beans. Chop half the onion and three cloves of garlic. Saute them in olive oil until the onions are translucent (I do this in my rice cooker on the steamer setting). Add the beans and half a cup water, salt to taste. Cook until most of the water has evaporated. Periodically mash the beans with the back of a wooden spoon or rice paddle until they resemble refried beans.

Toppings: Chop lettuce and tomatoes and slice the radishes and avocado, put in separate bowls. Chop the rest of the onion and then chop half (or all) the serrano chile, five sprigs of cilantro and some salt into the onion so all the ingredients combine.

Tortillas: My mom would sometimes make her own tortillas, which maybe I'll get to another day, but with store bought corn tortillas they need a little love. The best way to heat them is on a hot, dry (no oil) cast iron tortilla griddle. They should puff a little and I like them with slightly burned edges. I have no stove and no cast iron griddles so I brush the tortillas with water and heat them up in the toaster oven just until they're soft and warm.

Place everything on the table and let the layering begin.

*Note: I like to chop up a little extra lettuce so that when all the tacos have been eaten and there are still toppings left, you can make a little salad and avoid sorting everything into ten different zip lock bags.

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