03 June, 2012

Real Mexican Tacos - with Cookbook Sundays


As you may have guessed by reading some of my posts already, I LOVE Tacos!  I crave them, I plan them into my weekly menus, I try to develop new ideas for things to put in between a warm corn tortilla...anything for Tacos!  No wonder I married someone from Mexico City right?

When we planned our trip to Mexico I thought that it would be fun to count all of the Tacos, Tortas and Tostadas that we ate on our trip...but I could never stop long enough to count.  In fact it was rare that I even stopped long enough to take a picture.

The picture above stirred up some trouble on Facebook recently.  Some people commented that if they want to eat U Shaped Tacos from places like Taco Bell they are entitled to their way of thinking and no one should be allowed to tell them that they are "Bullshit".  My way of thinking is this: if Champagne only comes from a specific region in France, Port from a special place in Portugal, Tequila from Tequila, Mexico.... well you get my point.  Tacos are from Mexico, and the best place to find them is in Mexico City.  

Mexico City is the melting pot of Tacos in Mexico.  They have brought flavors from all over the country and present them on carts and from trucks on every corner.  Watching Food Truck Wars a while back they were bragging about New York having 6,000 food trucks...well, Mexico City has 36,000 and that does not count the street stands or bicycles.  There are different kinds of Tacos too.  I think this is were the confusion comes in between the two tacos pictured above.  Hopefully I can explain the difference for you;

Soft tacos are what are referred to, simply, as Tacos.  They are fresh corn tortillas warmed on the comal and filled with an array of meats, topped with chopped onion and cilantro and served with your choice of salsas.  

Tacos Guisados are a selection of fillings from chicken mole, chicharron en salsa verde, rajas con creama, nopales...a selection of meats and vegetables slow cooked in a sauce, all very flavorful and easily accessed on a street cart.  

Tacos de Canasta are a personal favorite of mine.  They are corn tortillas warmed in a quick dunk of oil and filled with sticky mouthfuls of flavor: smashed potato flavored with chorizo, re fried beans, chicharron prensado en salsa verde...  They are folded in half and kept warm piled together and steaming in a plastic lined basket.  Served with simple yet extremely spicy hot salsa.

Gringa Tacos are the only Taco that comes in a flour tortilla.  Oaxacan Cheese is melted on the flat grill and then scooped up in a warm flour tortilla, your choice of meat is added along with some garnish and the whole thing is folded in half.  It is a cross between a quesadilla and a taco, but that grilled cheese is really what makes it special.

Last but not least, the most confusing taco of all; Hard Tacos.  Tacos Dorados, Flautas or Taquittos, none of these are U Shaped.  The difference in name depends on which region of Mexico that you are in but the idea is the same.  Corn tortillas are warmed on the comal and then filled with a warm filling of smashed potatoes or shredded meat.  Then they are rolled into a flute shape and fried.  They are served with cream, crumbled cheese, salsa and shredded lettuce.

Tacos de Canasta in Coyoacan, DF
Cecina Tacos in Blue Corn Tortillas, La Marquesa, Mexico State
Squash Blossom
Chicharron Prensado
Tacos de Canasta, Downtown Mexico City
Barbacoa Tacos, Tonala, Oaxaca
Tacos de Cabeza, San Miguel Tuesday Tiangis
Tacos al Pastor, San Miguel Fondita on Ancha San Antonio...you know the place!
Tacos Placeros in Home
Tacos Dorados (left) Papa con Chistora (right) papa

Well, I don't know if you are hungry after learning about Tacos but I am STARVING after having written about them.  Just to prove my point that all Tacos are not just "cheap leftovers," as many think, I want to provide a recipe from Baja California Sur; Lobster Tacos.  These can be found all around baja, even on the ferry between Mazatlan and Baja.  Chef Ricardo Diaz Tapia is a well know Chef in those parts and this is his recipe (translated, thank you Google).  If you would like to see the original post just click on the link below. 

Happy eating!

Lobster Tacos by Chef Ricardo Diaz Tapia

Ingredients:
1 lb Lobster
1 stick butter 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1/2 onion, chopped 
1 cup Re-fried Black Beans 
1 cup Rice, uncooked
1 Tbsp chicken bouillon powder 
Olive oil 
Sea salt to taste 
Pepper to taste 
12 flour tortillas 

Preparation:
Wash rice and drain. In a saucepan with a little oil, brown rice with garlic and onion and add three cups of hot water, chicken broth powder and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until water has evaporated and rice is tender. 
Wash the lobster and remove all the pulp. In a skillet with a tablespoon of oil and 1 Tbsp of butter, brown the lobster for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
Heat re fried beans in a pan. In a hot skillet over low heat warm the tortillas on both sides. 
Prepare each taco smearing a spoonful of beans on each tortilla, add a spoonful of rice and 2 Tbsp of lobster. 

Presentation:
Serve tacos with chipotle mayonnaise and lime.



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