6 Ideas for Taco Night
Taco night is always one of the most fun dinners of the week. There’s nothing quite like capturing a combination of delicious flavors in a compact, warm tortilla. Of course, one of the best things about tacos is that you can use a huge variety of fillings and still achieve excellent results. If you’re ready to put your culinary academy skills to work by making something a little different this week, consider these possibilities:
1. Make it al pastor
If you usually opt for ground beef, maybe it’s time to try your hand at marinated pork. You’ll need to plan ahead, though. Bon Appetit offered directions for tacos al pastor that call for soaking three pounds of pork shoulder in chilies, pineapple, onion, garlic, vinegar, sugar, achiote paste and salt for three to 12 hours. Grill the pork over low heat for about 12 minutes on each side, until the meat is nicely caramelized.
2. Puff it up
Puffy tacos are a beloved staple of Tex-Mex cuisine that you can make at home. The resulting tortillas are satisfyingly crunchy on the outside with soft spots on the interior. Serious Eats emphasized the importance of using fresh masa, a dough made from dried corn. You’ll roll out 2-tablespoon pieces of the dough and fry them in oil at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the shell puff before shaping it with a spatula, and then cook on either side for 10-15 seconds.
3. Go fish
Fish tacos make an interesting break from beef or pork while opening up possibilities for different toppings. Bobby Flay suggested using a flaky white fish like mahi mahi, marinated in canola oil, ancho chili powder, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice. His recipe calls for grilling the fish four minutes with the flesh side down before flipping to cook another 30 seconds.
4. Enjoy a salad
A salad lets you enjoy classic taco flavors with less mess and even more toppings. Ree Drummond’s version, as featured on The Pioneer Woman, requires seasoned chicken breast, shredded lettuce, Roma tomatoes, pepper jack cheese, corn, green onion, cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips. Meanwhile, her dressing is a mixture of ranch, salsa and cilantro.
5. Soup’s on
You can have taco taste in soup as well. Paula Deen advised first browning ground beef and onions. Then, mix them in a stock pot with pinto and kidney beans, corn, stewed tomatoes, green chilies, ranch dressing
mix and taco seasoning. After simmering for about an hour on low heat, the soup will be ready to be served with tortilla or corn chips.
6. Not just for dinner
Taco night can also be morning, since tacos are a great way to put a spin on breakfast foods. The Kitchn suggested loading up tortillas with scrambled eggs, bacon, pinto beans, home fries, pico de gallo and cheese. Tailor the toppings to your preferences, and you’ll have a fantastic dish for a weekend breakfast or brunch.
No matter what fillings or toppings you like best, tacos pull together the tastes you love. If you’re enrolled in culinary arts programs, you’ll discover that there are endless ways to make this simple dish fresh and exciting.