Feasting is our column dedicated to cooking, grilling, eating and discovering what’s on the menu across America and the world.
Street food is a universal connector. Every culture has it, and it’s typically some of the most beloved fare in any cuisine. As tomorrow, October 4th, is National Taco Day, we decided to celebrate the best way we know how—with delicious twists on this classic Mexican dish that we all find irresistible. Crispy fish and smoky barbecued pork are on the menu, along with a nacho recipe that we think pairs perfectly with either dish.
Fish Tacos from Gran Electrica
Chef Robert Stauning’s menu at Gran Electrica is inspired by his travels throughout Mexico and specifically takes inspiration from the country’s traditional street fare. Made with a crunchy, battered flaky white fish, these tacos get a kick from homemade chipotle mayonnaise.
.5 cup flour
.5 cup rice flour
1 tbsp dried Mexican oregano
1 tbsp mustard powder
.5 tsp ground black pepper
Any flaky, mild white fish (like cod, hake, etc), cut into 1.5 oz portions (approximately the size of an index finger)
1 12 oz can Tecate
6 oz club soda
.5 cup mayonnaise
2 or 3 La Morena chipotles in adobo (These are spicy, so start with two chiles. If you like more heat, by all means, add more.)
.75 cup grated cotija cheese
Chop the chipotles finely and mix with the mayonnaise. Add .5 cup of the cotija cheese and mix to incorporate.
Mix all dry ingredients together and slowly add the beer and club soda. The batter should be somewhat thick (think pancakes).
Season fish with salt and dip into batter, let excess batter drip from the fish before gently placing into 350 degree oil. We use a deep fryer here at the restaurant, but at home you can use a deep stock pot (8 qt capacity)—fill it less than halfway with oil unless you want to remodel your kitchen. Fry until golden brown – about 3 minutes.
Have your tortillas hot and ready. Lay mayo first on the tortillas, then place the fried fish and top with the pickled cabbage. Enjoy!
Tacos al Pastor from Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue!
Although lean pork loin isn’t a traditional cut for barbecue, the meat remains juicy and flavorful during the cooking process if you let it marinate overnight. Traditionally carved off a rotating spit and served in warm corn tortillas with pineapple, this recipe from Steven Raichlen is street food at its best.
4 ounces guajillo chiles (20 to 24 chiles), or .5 cup pure Mexican chile powder
1 pork loin, about 3 pounds
2 medium-size sweet onions, peeled and cut crosswise into .25-inch slices
.25 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tbsp achiote paste (optional)
3 tomatillos or 1 ripe tomato, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tbsp coarse salt (kosher or sea)
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp anise seed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 fresh ripe pineapple, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
20 to 24 small corn tortillas, preferably freshly made
1 bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, dried, stemmed and placed in an attractive serving bowl
Your favorite salsa (optional)
If you are using guajillo chiles, place them in a bowl with 4 cups of warm water and let them soak for an hour.
Using a very sharp knife, cut the pork loin across the grain into thin slices. Arrange half the onion slices in a large mixing bowl or roasting pan. Arrange the pork over the onion slices, then place the remaining onion slices on top.
Drain the soaked chiles, if using, setting aside 1 cup of soaking liquid. Tear open each chile and scrape out and discard the seeds. Coarsely chop the chiles and place them in a blender with the vinegar and the reserved 1 cup of chile soaking liquid, then puree until smooth. If you are using chile powder, place it and .75 cup of water in the blender along with the vinegar. Add the achiote paste, if using, and the tomatillos, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, aniseed and thyme and process to a smooth, pourable puree. Alternatively, you can puree the ingredients in a food processor, but in this case, puree the solid ingredients first, then add the liquids.
Pour the marinade over the pork and onions, turning them to coat both sides. They don’t have to stay in layers. Let the pork marinate in the refrigerator, covered, anywhere from 3 hours to overnight. The longer it marinates, the richer the flavor will be.
Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Drain the pork and onion slices, discarding the marinade. Place the pineapple slices on the hot grate and grill until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Keep the grilled pineapple warm on the side of the grill or on a platter. Place the pork and onion slices on the grate and grill until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
Transfer the pork, onion and pineapple to a cutting board, stacking several slices of pork with a slice of onion and pineapple. Thinly slice them crosswise. Warm the tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds per side. Place some sliced pork, onion and pineapple on a tortilla. Top with cilantro and salsa, if desired, to taste. Fold the tortilla in half and eat.
Green Chili Nachos from Gina Hamadey’s ¡Buenos Nachos!
In this new cookbook from W&P Design’s recently launched publishing company Dovetail, nachos are the star of every meal. Chef Tony Maws’ (Craigie on Main, The Kirkland Tap & Trotter) recipe is the perfect mix of crunchy, cheesy and savoy that makes for the perfect taco night side dish.
.5 cup hulled pepitas
8 to 10 ounces tortilla chips
1 cup grated cotija cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup green chili salsa
.5 cup pickled jalapeño slices
.5 cup cilantro leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scatter the pepitas on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pepitas to a cutting board and coarsely chop; set aside.
Arrange a layer of chips on a rimmed baking sheet. Scatter half of the cheeses over the chips. Add another layer of chips and cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 8 minutes. Spoon the salsa over the nachos and scatter the pepitas, jalapeños and cilantro over the top. Serve.
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