Yes, The Manual knows that tacos are technically not part of a balanced diet, but that won’t stop us from considering them as such. Let’s put it this way: If you hold one taco in each hand, or if you hold one taco equally between two hands, that does technically make a balanced meal.
We’ve spent a lot of time making and eating tacos of all sorts — from your run-of-the-mill, fully-Americanized beef and cheese to these incredibly easy-to-make dessert tacos just because they’re irresistible. And because of our love for tacos, we even came up with how to cook ground beef from tacos to crock pot chili.
Most tacos in the U.S., as we’ve alluded to above, aren’t ‘real’ tacos. Instead, they’ve been Americanized to fit a palate that usually awakens at 2:00 in the morning after you’ve tied one or four on. If you’re on the hunt for authentic tacos, though, worry not, because there are plenty of Mexican restaurants in America where you can get them.
To help you in the pursuit of taco greatness (which could, but isn’t necessarily limited to throwing a wonderful Cinco de Mayo party this year), we asked chefs Silvestre Mora and Joe Lonigro of New York City’s Toro Loco and Otto’s Tacos, respectively, how to make some damn delicious authentic tacos. Read on to see their recipes for making carne asada and blackened shrimp tacos. While you’re out getting the ingredients for your new favorite taco recipe, don’t forget to try out the best tequilas for margaritas to go with the meal.
Tacos Carne Asada
- 1 lb sirloin steak
- 6 4-inch corn tortillas
- 2 cups guacamole (our favorite recipe can be found here)
- 1 Spanish white onion
- .5 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- Salt to taste
- Marinate steak in olive oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic cloves for at least one hour.
- Peel onion and cut into thin slices.
- Toss onions in flour and fry in vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add salt to onions to taste.
- Add salt to the steak to taste and cook in a sauté pan over medium heat to the desired temperature.
- Cut steak into quarter-inch slices.
- Warm tortillas in the oven.
- Top tortilla with steak, crispy onions, and .5 cup of guacamole each.
Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro and Charred Jalapeño Aioli
- 1 oz chipotle powder
- 3 oz taco seasoning
- .5 oz black pepper
- .5 oz garlic powder
- .5 oz cumin powder ( ground cumin )
- .5 oz salt
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix together using a fork.
- Set aside to use for coating shrimp.
Cilantro and Charred Jalapeño Aioli
- 2 cups mayo
- 2 large jalapeños
- 1 cup packed cilantro
- 3 cloves fresh garlic
- .5 oz salt
- Measure out all ingredients.
- Using tongs, roast each jalapeño over an open flame on your stovetop turning frequently. Roast each jalapeño until the entire skin is black.
- Place jalapeños in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam. Let rest for 5 minutes until they have cooled.
- Using a paper towel, rub the black char off of the jalapeños. (For a mild sauce, remove the vein and stem from the center of the jalapeño using a paring knife.)
- Add peeled jalapeños, mayo, cilantro, cumin, salt, and garlic into a small blender.
- Pulse until all ingredients begin to combine.
- Turn on low speed for 30 seconds until you get a smooth creamy sauce. (If the cilantro is not mixing in well, stop after 15 seconds and fold it into the mayo mix).
- Reserve for drizzling over blackened shrimp!
- 2 lbs. of 90-110 shrimp (bite-sized 8-10 pieces per taco) or 40-60 (4-5 pieces per taco)
- 20 small or 10 large corn tortillas (preferably yellow corn)
- 4 limes
- 7 oz. blackening seasoning
- 1 large white onion
- Add shrimp to a medium mixing bowl.
- Using your hands, dust the top layer of shrimp with seasoning. Mix with your left hand and continue to pour seasoning (try to mix quickly to ensure even dusting and to avoid clumping).
- If you have a sheet pan you may also lay the shrimp out onto the sheet pan and fully coat all shrimp with seasoning.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Lightly oil each side of your tortillas and cook in the skillet for one minute per side to achieve a slight crisp and char.
- After cooking each tortilla stack hot tortillas and wrap them in foil to preserve heat.
- Turn the same skillet to high, place one layer of shrimp and cook for 1 minute on the first side to blacken the seasonings then flip and cook for an additional 1 minute. The shrimp should be white through the center. Remember: the shrimp is dead, so make sure not to overcook! Work quickly between batches.
- Remove cooked shrimp and set aside. Repeat the same method until all of the shrimp is cooked.
How to Build the Tacos
- Place a tortilla on a plate.
- Place as little or as much (we recommend much!) shrimp onto the tortilla.
- Drizzle liberally with the cilantro and charred jalapeño aioli.
- Top with a pinch of cilantro, a pinch of onion, and a fresh squeeze of lime juice.
- Eat two before you tell anyone that the food is ready and enjoy!
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