Real tacos! Not those strange fried things loaded with lettuce and cheddar cheese (WHUT?)…
This one’s courtesy of my friends in Tijuana — we’ve had many a tailgate party with these. Start with a grill (you must have a grill. Mexicans grill everything: if it doesn’t move, it’s on there). Get the following:
- corn tortillas: as fresh as possible. This might be the hardest part for some of you — look for flexibility, if it just shreds or is too brittle when you bend it, it’s too old. Get the small ones, 4-6 inches across.
- Carne asada: thinly sliced beef, marinade with garlic and cilantro. Doesn’t have to be the good meat, in fact that’s why it’s sliced so thin and is heavily flavored.
- Chorizo. Look in the sausage department. Pork or beef.
- Queso fresco — unaged fresh white cheese. might be tricky for some of you to find
- Canned pickled serrano or jalapeño peppers (the FORMER are less hot) which are usually also mixed with onions and carrots in the can
- garlic cloves, as many as you like.
Grill the meat. Cook up the chorizo — you can do this on the grill or in a pan. It’s VERY greasy (so it’s hard to do on the grill, though you can manage with aluminum foil and then draining the grease later), so be prepared to drain that. Wrap all the cloves up in a piece of foil and put on the grill, away from direct flame, to roast. For the absolute minimum for YUM, you grill the corn tortillas quickly on either side, chop up or shred some carne asada, add a dollop of chorizo, half of one of the peppers (or more/less to taste), a sqeeze of garlic, fold over and enjoy. Make quesadillas by toasting a tortilla open faced with slices of the queso fresco on it, then adding anything else optionally (cheese only is great too). If you have fresh corn tortillas and queso fresco, this is absolutely authentic quesadilla! YUM. The only thing that would make it better would be if you could find uncooked corn tortillas (very unlikely) and cook them on the grill…
Variations: chop up an onion, wrap in foil and roast as well. Avocado slices (uncooked 😉 ) added in are good. Get scallions, and grill them until slightly wilted, add those in with the meat. Fresh chopped cilantro is fabulous.