I was reminded of this culinary triumph, our Heart of Palm Tacos,
when I saw this topic on Diner’s Journal:
Anthony and I made these tacos ages ago, back when I lived in good old Brooklyn and we used to have Wednesday night dinners, with $4 champagne and $7 juices.
These tacos have to be one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, and ever made, though I’ve only eaten them that one time. They were inspired by fish tacos, which, according to my old colleagues from Scholastic, Susan and Karen, are amazing. The combination sounded unbelievably delicious: fried fish, pickled cabbage, fresh green salsa, rich, smoky, mayonnaise, spicy jalapeno salsa, and of course, creamy chunks of avocado.
Fried, buttery, tangy, crunchy, fresh, green, soothing, spicy, tart, creamy-all sprinkled with cheese- fish tacos had to be the ultimate dish. Except, I don’t eat fish.
So I searched for something that could emulate (what I believed to be) the texture of fish, and settled on heart of palm. We fried the heart of palm in beer batter! (When I tried to write this post long back, the title was “my beer battered heart.”)
We chopped cilantro and onions and squeezed lime, for a herby, sharp salsa. We mixed the adobo sauce from a can of chipotles into whole milk yogurt and added a bit of lime to that, too, for a chipotle mayonnaise.
We made tomato salsa, fiery with jalapenos. We cubed avocado and pickled red cabbage, jalapenos and onions in vinegar. We made some beans, though we ate those on the side. We poured champagne and sat on the musty old sofa and played music and dug in.
We were inventive, and awesome, and so very hungry.
for beer batter: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Soft-Fish-Tacos-108046
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 cup dark beer, room temperature
Whisk flour, salt, and pepper in bowl; pour in beer, whisking until batter is smooth. Let stand 15 minutes.
Sprinkle heart of palm with salt and pepper. Squeeze some lime juice over each strip. Let stand 15 minutes. Mix heart of palm into batter.
Pour oil into medium skillet to reach depth of 1 inch. Attach deep-fry thermometer; heat oil to 350°F. Slide heart of palm into oil. Fry until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer heart of palm to paper-towel-lined baking sheet; place in oven. Repeat.
or, alternatively, another recipe for beer-battering the hearts of palm (i don’t remember which one we used)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup beer (not dark)
Heat 1 inch oil in a 10-inch heavy pot (2 to 3 inches deep) over moderate heat until a deep-fat thermometer registers 360°F.
stir together flour and salt in a large bowl, then stir in beer (batter will be thick). Gently stir heart of palm into batter to coat. Lift each piece of heart of palm out of batter, wiping any excess off on side of bowl, and fry in batches, turning once or twice, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Increase oil temperature to 375°F and refry heart of palm in batches, turning once or twice, until golden brown and crisp, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.
the pickled cabbage, onions and jalapenos: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fish-Taco-Platter-233703
- 1 red onion (about 12 ounces), halved lengthwise, cut thinly crosswise
- 5 whole small jalapeños
- 2 cups seasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- red cabbage, thinly sliced into slivers (1/2 a head? 1 head?)
Place cabbage, onion and jalapeños in heatproof medium bowl. Mix vinegar, lime juice, and salt in small saucepan. Bring just to boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Pour over onion and jalapeños. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
the chipotle mayonnaise
i don’t remember what we did then, but what i usually do now is strain yogurt through a cheesecloth for 30 min-1 hour, till it becomes thick (we don’t get sour cream in india, and i dont like mayo too much, so this is my substitute). then i mix in the adobo sauce from a can of chipotles, and some lime juice, to taste. it’s super yummy.
4. cubes of avocado
5. flour tortillas (i prefer flour over corn)
6. green salsa: i think we chopped cilantro and onions and mixed it with lime and salt. (anthony did this if i remember correctly?)
7. shredded cheese
8. red salsa – onions, tomatoes, celery, celery salt, cilantro, lime, pressed garlic
9. refried beans– not necessary with so many other toppings, but yummy. i think anthony made those. (anthony says: “the beans are a typical semi-refried effort of onions chilies garlic cumin perhaps a little tomato and whatever else is fit for bean consumption.”)
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