Cuisine has no borders. Not anymore, for sure!
Take tacos, the ubiquitous Mexican dish. It now crosses land and sea to become part of every cuisine in the world. Tacos are now featured in all types of restaurants, including kosher. And recipes for creating them at home appear in dozens of publications. Every culture puts its own stamp on them and serves them as though they invented the idea of wrapping food in a thin, flexible flatbread.
For the uninitiated, a taco is a traditional Mexican dish composed of a corn or wheat tortilla (wrap) folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings. It may include beef, chicken, fish, vegetables or cheese, allowing for great versatility. A taco is usually eaten without utensils and is often served with chili peppers, avocado slices, tomato salsa, guacamole, chopped cilantro, fresh tomatoes, onions or lettuce.
We have our own version here for you to try.
Southwestern Fish Tacos
Canola oil, for frying
1-1/2 cups sliced red cabbage
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Lemon wedges for serving
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup mayonnaise
12 6-inch tortillas or wraps
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne
Freshly ground pepper
1-1/4 pounds tilapia or flounder, cut into “fingers”
1 Hass avocado, sliced thin
2 plum tomatoes, diced
Heat about 3 inches vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375°F.
Meanwhile, toss the cabbage, cilantro or parsley, lemon juice, honey and mayonnaise in a bowl. Season the slaw with salt.
Place a wrap or tortilla in the tortilla tongs and lower into the hot oil. Cook for 5–6 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oil and place on a cooling rack to drain. Repeat until all are fried. Keep oil hot.
Mix the flour, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste in a shallow bowl. Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, then fry in batches until golden and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. You can fry in advance, refrigerate and reheat in a 350° oven for 5 minutes just before serving. Season with salt.
Fill the tortillas with the fish, avocado, slaw and tomatoes. Serve with additional lemon wedges.
Fajita refers to a taco containing grilled meat.
For the marinade and meat:
1 orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 hot peppers
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, checked and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 pounds skirt steak, cut into 8-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Light olive oil
12 flour tortillas or wraps
For the guacamole:
5 ripe Hass avocados
3 to 4 limes, juiced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the marinade ingredients. Using an immersion blender, purée the marinade until smooth. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and add the steak; seal and shake to coat. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours to tenderize and flavor the beef.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
Drain the marinade from the beef. Season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill the steak over medium-high heat, cooking for 5–6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest.
Toss the bell peppers and onions with a little olive oil. Grill onions and peppers for 7 to 8 minutes until the vegetables are just barely limp.
Prepare guacamole: With a tablespoon, scoop out the avocado flesh into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados with a fork, leaving them still a bit chunky. Add all of the rest of the ingredients, and fold everything together.
Heat up the wraps. Turn on one burner to a medium-low flame. Place a tortilla on each flame and let it char about 30 seconds to 1 minute; flip the tortilla and repeat on the second side. Once heated and charred, wrap in a towel to keep warm. Repeat until you have warmed all of your tortillas.
To serve: Thinly slice the steak against the grain on a diagonal.
Spread some guacamole on a tortilla, top with a few slices of steak, peppers and onions. Roll up the tortilla to enclose the filling. Serve immediately.
Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.