Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Part 6 of Mexican (Tacos) Cuisine

What comes to mind when someone says "Tacos" to you.  For many in the USA it's the taco that was brought to you by "Taco Bell" or "Taco John's" or some other American institution.  But these hard shell folded in half corn tortillas are a "Tex-Mex" invention.  Not a true "Mexican Taco" served in Mexico.

These "Two-for-Tuesday" cheap fast food tacos were great for young people's budget and quick service.  But not for "Authentic Mexican Food" that we see much more now in the USA.

A true Mexican taco is served on a corn tortilla that is still soft.  It can be filled with almost anything.  However, you won't see it filled with ground meat as is the case in much the USA.

Yes, today in the USA tacos can be found with chicken, pork, beef, fish and seafood.  Most of these are either chopped or shredded.  Some, such as fish tacos, are served with pieces.  While shrimp tacos are usually whole shrimp.  They're also served on soft corn tortillas or flour tortillas.

Hard corn tortillas are usually flat now, which makes them "Tostadas" a traditional Mexican product.  Fast food Tex-Mex establishments and grocery store shelves still offer the folded in half hard corn tortilla.

In Mexico it depends on where you are as to the ingredient used to fill tacos.  Along the coasts, fish and shrimp tacos are big.  Inland it becomes beef, pork, chicken or goat.  The meat is seasoned and chopped or shredded with simple fresh toppings.  The toppings are different too.  It's back to location, location, location.  Also , each different meat may get a special local topping.

A taco in Mexico is as a sandwich is in the USA.  It's different everywhere and even changes by individuals personal tastes or favorite condiments.

So let your imagination run away as you create your favorite taco.  And just because a taco is Mexican, it doesn't mean it has to be filled with heat.  That's personal too.

Remember "Warm" tortillas for tacos.  The best way to have warm tortillas is to wrap some in foil and place in the oven to warm.  A 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes should do a bundle of 3 or 4 tortillas.  Use multiple bundles so each person has their own.  That way they can take one out and recover the remaining ones to keep warm until needed.  Small ones (5-6 inch) are best in my opinion.  You can make your own too or buy them.  Recipes for making your own in the "Odds & Ends" recipe tab.

This week's two recipes use a meat ingredient that many of you may never have thought of for tacos.  Tomorrow's recipe of "Chorizo & Potato Tacos" uses a Mexican sausage which has a little kick.  On Wednesday, the "Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos" use poultry other than chicken.  I'm just trying to show you that you're only limited by your imagination and taste buds.

So "Happy Cooking" and enjoy a taco to two until next week.

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