Do you think I have lost my mind?
Well, The Hubs did, too.
When he asked what was for lunch today and I said, “Deviled Egg Tacos,” there was no response.
No response from him when it comes to food means he is highly skeptical.
Rest assured, Deviled Egg Tacos are delicious. Today’s post is to highlight Tacos by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman. It is an informative hardcover book full of how-to photos and truly beautiful food.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions, exclamations, gushing and rants are my own.
Superstar chef Alex Stupak’s love of real Mexican food changed his life; it caused him to quit the world of fine-dining pastry and open the smash-hit Empellón Taqueria in New York City. Now he’ll change the way you make–and think about–tacos forever.
TACOS is a deep dive into the art and craft of one of Mexico’s greatest culinary exports. We start by making fresh tortillas from corn and flour, and variations that look to innovative grains and flavor infusions. Next we master salsas, from simple chopped condiments to complex moles that simmer for hours and have flavor for days. Finally we explore fillings, both traditional and modern–from a pineapple-topped pork al pastor to pastrami with mustard seeds.
But TACOS is more than a collection of beautiful things to cook. Wrapped up within it is an argument: Through these recipes, essays, and sumptuous photographs by Evan Sung, the 3-Michelin-star veteran makes the case that Mexican food should be as esteemed as the highest French cooking.
This cookbook might just be the only book you will ever need on Mexican cuisine. It covers everything from making traditional tortillas to recipes for spinach, beet, and saffron tortillas as well. Salsas and condiments make up a large portion of the book. The authors even show step by step photos on how to prepare Cochinita Pibil THE HARD WAY. They also have an easier recipe for this iconic Yucatán dish, one that does not require digging a pit and lining it with banana leaves.
I needed to do something a bit easier for lunch. Although Deviled Egg Tacos sounds like it would be straight forward and pretty easy, they do require some prep work. That being said, most all the ingredients can be made ahead of time for an easier prep.
First, make the Sikil Pak, a truly “indegenous fusion” of Spanish, Moorish, Lebanese and Mexican flavors. This Yucatán dip or spread is addictive and is described as “alpha-hummus.”
1 plum tomato (I used a Roma.)
One 2-inch stick of canela (Mexican cinnamon)
2 c. raw, hulled, unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 habanero chile (I used one dried chipotle.)
3 garlic cloves, skins on
1⁄2 medium white onion, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices
1 lime (The original recipe calls for a sour orange.)
1 t. kosher salt
60 cilantro leaves (from about 15 sprigs)
Preheat the broiler. Roast the tomato on a baking sheet under the broiler until blackened in spots, about 7 minutes. Turn it over and continue to blacken, another 7 minutes. Remove from the broiler and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once it is cool enough to handle, peel the tomato and discard the skin.
Set a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the canela and toast, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Remove from the heat, transfer to a spice grinder, and grind to a fine powder.
Reheat the skillet over medium heat. Toast the pepitas until they puff up and turn brown, shaking the pan constantly to prevent them from burning. Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Grind the pepitas until a powder forms and begins to stick to the sides of the bowl.
Reheat the skillet, then roast the habanero, garlic cloves, and onion slices, turning them from time to time, until softened slightly and blackened in spots, about 6 minutes. (If using a dried chipotle, you may toast it a bit as well during this step.) Turn off the heat, remove the vegetables from the skillet, and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves and discard the skins.
Add the roasted tomato, garlic, onion, and half of the habanero (or dried chipotle) to the bowl of the food processor with the ground pepitas. Cut the lime in half and squeeze over a medium-mesh strainer directly into the bowl. Add the juice of both halves. Add the ground canela and the salt and cilantro leaves, along with ¾ cup water; pulse to a coarse puree. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use. The sikil pak will keep for up to 3 days.
This is great as a dip with salty tortilla chips or just wrapped up in a corn tortilla on its own.
To make the tacos, simply prepare deviled eggs using whatever recipe you like. (I used 6 eggs, 1 T. mayo, 1/2 T. Dijon, and about 1 T. of the Sikil Pak mixture for my deviled eggs.)
Use very good artisan-made corn tortillas (or make your own). I used Sprouts store brand and they worked wonderfully. Lay out the warm tortillas on serving plate. Place a dollop of Sikil Pak on each tortilla and spread using a spatula. Evenly distribute the deviled eggs among the tortillas and top with the minced red onion, chopped cilantro, and a small amount of Salsa Habanera. (I did not tackle the recipe for Salsa Habanera. Instead I used some sriracha.) Squeeze a couple of the lime wedges over the tacos and serve the rest on the side. (For more step by step directions, see page 212 in Tacos.)
I received this book from Blogging for Books in November. I am kicking myself that I did not delve into it sooner. Other recipes that have me intrigued are numerous:
- Black Bean Hummus Tacos with Ayocote Beans and Avocado (page 195)
- Shishito Pepper Tacos (page 189)
- Chicken Tacos with Kale and Salsa Verde (page 108)
The Hubs, however, is fixated on making those Cochinita Pibil tacos (the hard way). He has already asked where we can buy banana leaves and where can he dig the pit. (And, most importantly, he told me I can certainly make Deviled Egg Tacos again. That is the highest compliment from him.)
For my last Blogging for Books review, click here.