Taco night. Friday evening. Plenty of friends & family. Spanish music. Beers. Ideal.
This is a step by step guide to the ultimate taco night. Looks impressive and hard to make, but is actually super easy and will make your friends and family wonder how you got it done so quickly. It’s all in the prep- once on the table it’s DIY style. As the weather gets warmer, taco night is also perfect for al fresco dining.
Step 1. Choose a meat (or vegetarian)
This is the best place to start. Recently, I have been enjoying having vegetarian tacos, as there are so many other things going inside the taco (see below) that meat is not always necessary. If you want vegetarian tacos move to step 2. For the meat options: chicken is always a favourite of mine- for a mexican chicken recipe click here. For a mexican prawn recipe, look at the chicken recipe but replace for prawns. For beef or lamb, make a chilli con carne (can also use soy mince) type of dish. I decided to try fish tacos this time round.
For fish tacos: True ‘baja style’ fish tacos include deep frying the fish until crisp. If you want to make it this style, buy lemon sole breaded fish goujons as a cheat’s version. However, I wanted to make a healthier option, so I got 4 pieces of cod (you need a firm white fish like cod or hake), rubbed them in a cajun mix and put on a grilled plan (this tastes the best on the BBQ in summer). I cooked each side then ‘shredded’ the fish into smaller pieces.
Step 2: Choose a taco.
Most people think of tacos as the hard-shelled yellow tacos from the shop. However, traditionally in Mexico, a taco is simply a corn or wheat tortilla. If you are using lamb, beef or soya mince ‘chilli’, then as the mixture is quite wet, I think that the hard shell works better- so buy these. However, for vegetarian, chicken, prawn and fish I use these – the wholewheat ones taste nicer. If these are not available, just buy regular tortillas from the bread section. Warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds before using.
Step 3. The best ever guac.
Guacamole is a must for taco night. Here is a recipe to my ‘best ever guac’. This tastes the most authentic when using a pestle and mortar, however, if you do not have one then just finely chop the ingredients and mash together in a bowl.
- 1 handful corriander
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 ripe avocados (make sure that they are soft when you prod them in the supermarket)
- 1 red onion, chopped
- A tomato/ a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Garlic salt (optional)
- Mash the coriander and garlic cloves with a little olive oil and salt.
- Add the onions and mash.
- Add the avocado flesh and mash.
- Add the tomatoes and lime juice and stir together.
- Season with salt and pepper. Use garlic salt if you have it.
Step 4: Salsa
If you’re feeling lazy, you can always buy a jar of salsa, but here is the recipe to the easiest most amazing smoky chargrilled veg salsa. In Mexico, they griddle each vegetable until burnt then mash them all together- this is a cheat’s version. Use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.
- 2 red onions
- 1 bulb of garlic, peeled
- Half a pack cherry tomatoes or 3 regular tomatoes
- 1 pepper
- A mixture of chillies, I used a few long red ones and a few jalapeno chillies
- A handful of coriander
- A handful of parsley
- A few sun dried tomatoes (optional)
- A few tsp chipotle sauce (optional)
- Simply put all the vegetables (except the herbs and sun dried tomatoes) on foil in a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Put on the TOP shelf of the grill and grill for about 45 minutes until burnt. You want to be able to smell burning (the only time that this is good!). Every so often, stir the vegetables. They should be black on top, at the end. This gives the most amazing smoky flavour to the salsa.
- Then blend all together with the coriander, parsley, sun dried tomatoes and chipotle. Season.
Step 5: Salads
It is always essential to have some raw vegetables to put into the taco to add a freshness and crunch. This time I made 2- one ‘purple slaw’ and one ‘pico de gallo’ a salad of onion, tomato and coriander.
For the ‘purple slaw’ I mixed together half a red cabbage with one sliced red onion and added a swig of white wine vinegar and lime juice. Season.
For the ‘pico de gallo’I mixed together chopped spring onion, coriander and cherry tomatoes with some lime juice. Season.
Step 6: ‘White sauce’
All tacos must have a zingy cooling ‘white sauce’. You can just buy soured cream if you like. I like the taste of Greek Yogurt, and it is healthier. I mixed a few tbsp of low fat greek yoghurt with some lime juice and cumin powder and sprinkled paprika on top. Season.
Beans- I think that these are a nice addition to taco night, especially if you are having them vegetarian. There is no effort either, I literally just brought a tin of el paso refried beans and a tin of el paso black beans, and warmed both up in the microwave.
Jalapenos- empty a jar of them into a bowl.
Cheese- essential, of course. Use cheddar and grate. (Great!)
To complete the food:
I think that the best beers to drink this with are the Mexican beer Sol or Corona. Passion fruit mojitos or margaritas are always a good shout too. Use the spotify playlist spanish party mix to get in the fiesta mood!