Indisputably, nothing speaks Mexican or Tex-Mex like street tacos. They’re a veritable craze taking over specialty gastropubs and one of the many elevated offerings within the food truck movement, all putting their own unique spin to create taste sensations across the nation.
Together with the glamburger and the dawg, street tacos have become exalted showstoppers, no longer the ever-present staple at tail gate parties and BBQ’s. They’ve all have food-cult disciples with every Yelper and Instagrammer vying for top banana, showcasing their favorite locales.
And we’re not just taking about tacos with fillings that are solicitously wrapped in corn tortillas or placed lovingly on tostadas. Oh no. Seriously ambitious Korean chefs are fusing Asian and Across the Border flavors, personalizing tacos overflowing with umami, that are as sensational as they are eclectic.
In case you’re wondering what the ruckus is all about, here are some taco recipes that will not only blow your socks off but will go down in the Hall of Famer recipe annals.
SHORT RIB TACOS
Once you make these short rib tacos, you will wonder why on God’s green earth you haven’t thought about making them before. Ensure you have plenty of leftovers, as they are even better the next day. And since everything is better with lime, squeeze a decent amount of lime juice over these babies, as they are rich and need the acidity. The braising liquid is the jewel in the crown, as you can freeze it and use it for future roasts, ribs and even pulled pork.
1 LB of short ribs
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
Mexican Cotija cheese
Mexican Crema – recommended Cacique
Slices of lime
Fresh chopped cilantro
Small corn tortillas
1 28 oz can of whole roasted tomatoes with their juice
½ cup of good beef stock
1 small can of chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce
3 TBSP tomato paste
1 TSP Mexican oregano
1 TSP Spanish smoked paprika
6 whole garlic cloves – peeled
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 TSP Kosher salt
½ cup of ACV
1 TBSP sugar
1½ TBSP kosher salt
1 medium Vidalia, Maui or red onion finely chopped
Whisk the first 3 ingredients with 1 cup of warm water to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour over the onions and allow to pickle at room temperature for about 1-2 hours.
PREHEAT OVE TO 350F
Place all ingredients for the marinade in a deep bowl and puree with an immersion blender.
Salt and pepper the short ribs and sear them on every side to achieve a good crust. Place them in a deep braising oven pan, add the cinnamon sticks, the bay leaves and cover with the marinade. Seal first with some plastic wrap, then cover with some foil and braise them for about 4½ hours. Allow to cool, take them out of the braising liquid and shred the meat. Reserve the braising liquid for other uses.
Rewarm the meat in a small skillet with some of the reserved liquid and add some salt and pepper. Toast 2 corn tortillas on a griddle on both sides. Pile with the shredded meat, Cotija cheese, Mexican crema, pickled onions, cilantro and finish with a few radish slices.
CRISPY FISH BAJA STREET TACOS
1 LB of white fish filets such as halibut or cod – cut into bite medium pieces
Grapeseed oil (it has a high burning point)
CILANTRO LIME CREMA
½ cup of mayo
½ of sour cream
Very finely chopped cilantro
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 garlic clove – passed through a garlic press
½ TSP salt
½ TSP sugar
Mix all ingredients together and reserve.
1 cup of seltzer water
½ TBSP cornstarch
½ TSP salt
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
½ cup APF – all-purpose flour
Sprinkle of cayenne or Aleppo pepper
½ TSP garlic powder
Fresh cracked pepper
Pickled onion (above recipe)
Grilled pineapple slices – chopped small
Whisk the ingredients together (not the panko). The batter should appear like a thin pancake batter with as little lumps as possible.
Place the panko in a shallow plate. Dip each fish filet lightly into the batter then into the panko. Allow them to sit for about 20 minutes before frying. Meanwhile, heat about ½ inch of the oil in a deep skillet, preferably cast iron. When the oil is almost smoking place the battered fish carefully into the oil and fry about 2-3 minutes per side till golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Heat up some corn tortillas on a griddle. Place the fish down, some of the pickled onions, the cilantro lime crema, fresh cilantro and the chopped grilled pineapple. Serve with lime wedges.