Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guaco Tacos

There is an indoor farmers market of sorts near my Chinatown apartment, called the Essex Market, which houses several great food establishments, a fantastic little local cheese shop called Saxelbys, the great and venerable Shopsins General Store, and a little taco stand called the Brooklyn Taco Co. Though it is on the wrong side of the river for such a name, they serve some incredible tacos. The first time we tried them, S and I were both smitten with the  Guaco Taco. How could something as simple as avocados and corn with a hint of lime and the typical taco toppings be so delicious? So Perfect? But it is. Oh, it is. 
The recipe was simple enough to mimic, and we have been successfully making delicious Guaco Tacos at home ever since. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as we do.
Recipe at the bottom.

Easy pickling red onions,

The perfect taco topping.

Apple Cider Vinegar- turns any vegetable into quick pickles.

I cannot wait for corn season. There are so many fantastic sweet corn dishes to make.

Pop those lovely bicolor corn ears directly onto the fire.

Those beautiful, blackened kernels are exactly what you want. Move the ear around on the burner to get the tops and bottoms as well.

Those are some perfectly roasted ears of corn, some parts totally blackened, some barely burned. This makes a nice mixture of corn flavors when you mix it with the avocados.

For this recipe you want to pick avocados that are starting to soften but are still a good deal firmer than an avocado you would use in guacamole. They should be firm with a bit of give, not brown inside. But one or two squishy avocados will certainly not ruin the dish.

Delicious, velvety avocado pieces.

De-kernel the corn cobs. 

Two of my favorite vegetables in one bowl.

Add one of my favorite fruits.

Mix until it becomes lumpy half-guacamole deliciousness.

Toast some corn tortillas.

These are delicious, filling but not overly heavy, with a distinctive taste of summer to them. 

Guaco Tacos

4 avocados
1 lime
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 small red onion
2 ears corn
Approx 1 cup apple cider vinegar
6-10 small corn tortillas

Pickled Onions
First, if you want to pickle to onions, do it first. You by no means have to pickle the onions, but if you like pickled things, it is delightful. Chop your onion in half, then slice into thin half moons, then slice those in half. Place in a 8oz jar (or a tupperware, if you don't have a jar), fil 2/3 of the way with apple cider vinegar, then top with water, add a 1/4 tsp salt, cover and place in fridge. 


Shuck the corn and place the bare ears directly on the burners of your gas range. If your corn has one of those natural stalk handles, leave it on. (If you don't have a gas range, check out this recipe  on oven roasting corn. You won't get the same blackened corn, but it will be effective.) Turn heat to medium low, so the flames lightly lick at the corn kernels. They will eventually start to sizzle and pop, check them regularly and turn the ears as they blacken, to evenly cook all sides. Once all sides have some blackening, turn off heat and remove the corn. Set aside the corn ears. 

Peel and cube the avocados however you like, this is what I do: slice the avocados in half, with a large knife and remove pits- to do this I thwack my large knife pretty hard into the avocado pit, so it sticks into it, then I twist it lightly and lift to remove the pit, which can be removed from the knife by running it along the edge of your sink, so the pit falls into the sink. 
To slice avocados, I run my knife along the inside, the flesh side, of the halves, but not through the skin in the back, then peel the skin away form the slices. Cut the slices into little cubes and dump them into a big bowl. 

To remove the corn from the ear, stand the corn up on the narrower side, holding the wider base, or the stalk if the corn has one, then using your large sharp knife, cut the corn away from the ear straight down from the top to the bottom. If you don't cut it down to the bottom of the kernels, you can take a second pass. You won't really be able to cut off much of the ear beyond the kernels because it'll feel distinctly firmer and harder to cut. Remove kernels from both ears of corn and add to the bowl with the avocados. 

Cut the lime in half and add the juice of one half to the avocado-corn mixture. Add a dash of salt and a healthy grinding of black pepper. Using a large spoon, mix and occasionally mash the avocados-corn mixture until it resembled half-mashed guacamole, or until it reaches the consistency you desire. I like mine to be very chunky, but held together with mashed avocado. 

Toasting the corn shells

Again, this requires a gas range. If you have an electric range, just skip this step and make your tacos.
Place a taco shell on each of your burners and turn them on medium-high. Let them toast up 5-15 seconds per side, then flip using tongs (or if you want to be like me, blow on the flames so they all blow to one side, then quickly grab the tortilla on the flameless side with your fingers and flip.) toast on the other side for a few seconds, and remove from the flame.
The length of time before you flip the tortillas depends on how toasted to like them, and on the brand of tortillas you use. The Whole Foods ones I use get too crispy if you let them toast more than a few seconds per side, but I've other brands you can toast for much longer before they get crispy. It's a bit of trial and error, but very delicious.

Assemble your tacos, putting the avocado-corn mixture on top of a tortillas and topping with cilantro, red onion (pickled or not), cilantro, and a squeeze of lime from the half you saved earlier. 

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