Taco Truck Night
Every food magazine and local paper seem to have covered the popularity of Mexican tacos in the last few years. I have to say, I’m happy about it. Bustling Mexican hot spots in the West Village have been churning these little darlings out for ages, and trucks in Midtown have been slopping Mexican Crema over beef tacos since forever, but it was one cuisine that just didn’t sit right with me. I worked in Midtown for a few years, and I recall walking by these trucks, seeing people craning their necks, gulping back what looked like to me, at the time, to be greasy little reasons to run to the toilet. I deeply regret this naive impression. I have also had the real deal in Mexico, but sadly, my palate for authentic Mexican lovin had not evolved yet.
That was until I tried a pulled pork taco. Whaaaa?!
There is so much you can do with tacos, whether it’s a quiet Sunday night with the fam, or there is a whole gang coming over. These little beauties are light years away from taco night circa 1992 (no offence Mom). Back then, a few bowls of shredded cheddar, sour cream and pulled iceberg sat along side packet seasoned ground beef and a couple of microwaved taco shells. Fast-forward twenty years and I don’t see a prepared taco kit in sight. Hell no!
Now, it’s time to get creative with your tacos and start something in your house called: Taco Truck Night.
To make the pulled pork:
1) You need 1.5 lbs of pork shoulder or Boston Butt. Feeds about 8-10 people.
2) Gather all the good herbs you have at home. Garlic, sage, rosemary, paprika, herbs de provence, salt and pepper.
3) Stir them up and then give the butt a nice massage.
4) Place pork into a slow cooker and pour over your favourite bottle of store bought bbq sauce.
5) Cook on low for 8 hours.
6) When the pork is done, shred it with a fork into a Creuset or Dutch Oven and place over low heat.
7) Add more bbq sauce if you like and turn up the heat, but not too much that you burn it.
8) Stir that shizzle and keep it on the stove top until the tacos are assembled.
– I use corn tortillas (Alba Lisa) but you can also make your own. I did this once and just used all purpose flour because it was last minute and I didn’t have the masa harina. They were pretty good.
– arugula (gives an awesome peppery zing)
– red onion sliced
– chopped tomatoes or your favourite salsa
– rosemary mayo
Now, rosemary mayo has basically changed my culinary life. I discovered it late one night at a pub and the minute it hit my lips, the world stopped. Okay, a little dramatic, and I was a little drunk, but the point is, it is amazing. I allowed my husband one dip and he agreed. He couldn’t have known then that this little white dollip of heaven would be showing up in most of our sandwiches, salads and tacos long after that tipsy date night.
To make the rosemary mayo:
1) Chop up 3-4 sprigs of Rosemary.
2) Sautee in 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Do not burn the rosemary, it only takes a minute to infuse the butter. Turn the heat off and allow it to sit there in the pan for a little nightcap.
3) Add 1/4 cup of mayo to bowl.
4) Add 1 tablespoon of Maple Syrup (also to taste, sometimes I put more).
5) Add the Rosemary and butter.
6) Stir it up and add salt and pepper to taste.
To make the crispy chicken:
1) Take skinless, boneless fillets of chicken (flattened and cut into tender strips) and dip into egg wash (one or two eggs whisked with a dash of water).
2) Then, dip chicken into a bed of flour.
3) Lastly, dip the chicken into a bed of bread crumbs (panko is the best but any other will do just fine).
4) Have a dutch oven with 1.5-2 inches of vegetable oil heating on the stove top.
5) Drop the prepared chicken into oil for 3-5 minutes.
6) Place chicken on a baking sheet to warm in a 200 degree oven while you are preparing.
Other ingredients with crispy chicken tacos:
– shredded cheddar and mozza (but queso fresco is a mexican cheese that goes incredibly well)
– pickled red onion (Very easy and you can keep them in your fridge for weeks. They go amazing in sandwiches and salads as well)
– rosemary mayo (duh!)
Pretend your guests are being served from a food truck in midtown Manhattan. It’s fun to go ‘street’ at home and use paper boats with aluminum foil to wrap the taco in. You could also use these red plastic wire bowls for more of a ‘pubby’ feel. (You can pick them up at Walmart).
Fish tacos coming soon.
Please share your taco night tips with us. Comment and let us know.