Tacos are the epitome of Mexican cuisine to most Americans. What could be better than meat or fish, spicy salsa, and the taste of cold sour cream combined in a neat little corn tortilla package?
These delights are fast and uncomplicated, and the ingredients are as close as your supermarket. Tacos are extremely versatile and can be served as appetizers, accompaniments or entrees at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Almost anything can fill a tacos these days — grilled tuna, shrimp, lobster and vegetables of all sorts, you name it. With all these choices, an infinite number of taco variations are possible. In some restaurants you might even find tacos filled with foie gras and duck confit. Around the country, a new generation of food trucks has customers lining up for sizzling Korean-Mexican taco combinations.
On Cinco de Mayo, a day when Mexicans and Anglos alike celebrate the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, why not celebrate Mexican food and culture with a taco bar? Set your buffet with platters of warm tortillas, grilled meats, fish or vegetables, and an assortment of toppings like guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, green chile peppers, chopped onions, cilantro, limes and sour cream.
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To quickly warm tortillas, place a dozen on a microwave-safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for one minute. Leftover tortillas can be stored in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Figure on two cold Mexican-style beers per person — or more.
Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school.