When we were out in LA, Cara and I spent a lot of time trolling the food truck scene. Probably too much time. But with so many choices, how can you eat it all in one day? While Cara was adventurous and tried the new-fangled Nacho Truck, I pretty much stuck to what LA food trucks are known for: around-the-world tacos. (For the record, our favorite was the Vietnamese-inspired Nom Nom tacos with pickled radishes and carrots on top of spicy lemongrass chicken.)
When I got back to NYC I started to notice this trend infiltrating our fair city. In the inner courtyard of Tavern on the Green, which has recently become host to food trucks rather than over-priced table-service, I spotted a Middle Eastern taco truck serving up lamb pita tacos with tahini sauce. Clearly, the taco has fallen prey to very loose interpretation. But why not? The tortilla really can just be a vehicle for whatever delicious toppings you can dream up.
So, unlike most foodie trends, I’ve embraced this one in my kitchen, especially now that I am gluten-free, and corn tortillas are one of the few “quick bite” carbs I can use in place of the old sandwich bread. I had some tortillas lying around in my fridge (old habits die hard) one morning and decided to make Josh some breakfast tacos. We had just been to Edi and the Wolf the night before, so perhaps I already had Austrian food on my brain, because the concoction that came out of my kitchen that morning was decidedly not Mexican, and, probably, overall a bit strange. But when Josh went nuts over them, I thought perhaps the combination was worth repeating. And I hope you’ll think so too.
If you happen to see an Austro-Hungarian Taco truck on a block near you, I just might be the one driving it!
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Austrian Breakfast Tacos with Spicy “Sauerkraut” and Summer Sausage
Makes 2 breakfast tacos
Summer sausage replaces the chorizo in this taco combination; it’s similar to salami, though slightly softer in texture. It tastes great cold (probably the “summer” element), but also excellent crisped up in a skillet as in this recipe. If you can’t find any, simply use another hard sausage like salami or see what the deli counter suggests.
3 ounces summer sausage*, cubed
4 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
4 taco-sized corn tortillas
Spicy sauerkraut (recipe follows)
Cilantro for garnish (optional)
*I used a very delicious one from Vermont Smoke and Cure
In a small non-stick skillet, pour a teaspoon of olive oil, and add the sausage. Brown over medium-high heat until crispy, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the sausage to a paper towel. Turn the heat down to low and add the eggs. Scramble slowly until nearly fully cooked. Stir in the cheese and cook one minute more. Remove from the heat.
In the meantime, wrap the tortillas in a paper towel or clean dish towel and heat the tortillas in the microwave in 30 second intervals, until piping hot.
To serve, set two tortillas on the plate, top with a generous spoonful of eggs and spicy sauerkraut, and a sprinkling of crispy sausage. Garnish with cilantro and your choice of hot sauce (optional!).
Makes 2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups shredded purple cabbage
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
3/4 cup chicken or veggie stock (or water), divided
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add the cabbage, salt, sugar, and chili flakes and saute, stirring occasionally, until starting to wilt, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup stock or water, scrapping up any brown bits from the onions. Turn the heat down to low, and simmer until the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 6-8 minutes. Add the remaining stock or water and repeat until reduced by half. The cabbage should be cooked through but not mushy. Stir in the vinegar and remove from the heat. Serve alongside eggs, chicken, or pork. The “kraut” will keep for up to a week in the fridge.