10 Delicious Foods That Should Be Taco Fillings
This week, I interviewed Wes Avila of Guerrilla Tacos for my complete guide to tacos on First We Feast. At his Los Angeles taco truck, I learned, he changes the menu constantly, based on inspiration from what’s available or what he finds himself eating in his regular life. He told me he’s made tacos from leftover fideuà and from the Armenian sausages he buys in Glendale, his neighborhood. I loved how he talked about the creativity involved in translating his world into food, particularly tacos. Here’s how he puts it:
Wear what you dig. Cook what you like. If you like really spicy stuff, go for it. If you like exotic things, go for it. As far as you being the cook – professional or home – when you’re cooking something that comes from the heart…that’s when you can make something tasty. If you have good ingredients, and you can simply cook it, and not try to do some BS fusion crap you saw on TV but cook something you like, then you’re in the right direction.
As I so often do when I’ve been testing something for a piece, I ended up subsisting on tacos and leftover tacos materials for several days. I’m not sick of them. In fact, I’ve forgotten all about rice bowls and sandwiches, my usual vehicles for edible miscellany. Now, I want to wrap everything in a corn tortilla, just like Wes. Cooking what you like, right?! Here are 10 dishes from the archives I really like, which are suddenly begging for the taco treatment.
1. Chicken & Cauliflower Yakitori. Vegetables and chicken baked in a sweet soy sauce should come off the skewer and into your taco. Instead of salsa, drizzle on sriracha.
2. Manchurian Cauliflower. The Chinese-Indian favorite features crispy cauliflower in a sweet and tangy sauce. A dollop of yogurt would be welcome on top.
3. Paneer Bhurji. Paneer kind of reminds me of Mexican fresh cheese, and this dish evokes a spicy egg scramble, so maybe it belongs not just on any taco but on a breakfast taco.
4. Corn Pudding. Corn on corn! Add something crunchy to make the textures work, like pickled shallots or radishes.
5. Roasted Baby Carrots with Avocado Aioli. The sweetness of roasted carrots wants nothing more than creamy, herby avocado sauce to become a dreamy vegetarian taco.
6. Broiled Oysters with Sriracha-Lime Butter. Instead of the more traditional fish tacos, scoop some roasted, seasoned oysters onto your tortilla. Top with the usual: slivered cabbage, salsa, and sour cream.
7. Chicken, Hearts of Palm & Avocado Chop Chop Salad. One of the all-time best lunch salads already owns all the Mexican seasons that’ll make it fit perfectly into tonight’s tacos.
8. Grilled Halloumi & Pattypan Squash. Savory halloumi gets crispy when it meets the hot pan, while pattypan squash gets nice and juicy. Top this one with guac.
9. Panzanella. Bread in tacos? Sounds so crazy it just might work.
10. Pepper Steak. Slices of stir-fried steak mingle with peppers and a thickened soy sauce that reminds you of the best Americanized Chinese food you’ve ever had–now wrapped up in a tortilla.