Make every night taco night with these five super tasty recipe ideas.
Authentic taqueria-style guacamole is smoothed out with water–no chunks here.
Makes about 2 cups
- 2 large ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Mash avocado, lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle or a medium bowl with a fork until thick and smooth.
Mix in ¼ cup water, 1 tablespoonful at a time, until mixture is creamy and smooth.
Stir in cilantro.
Season with salt.
Toasted Guajillo Chile Salsa
Toasting the dried chiles first brings out their deep flavor.
Makes about 2 cups
- 4 ounces dried guajillo chiles (about 18), stemmed
- 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt plus more
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
Ingredient Info: Guajillo chiles are available at Latin markets and some supermarkets.
Heat a large dry cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, toast chiles until slightly puffed and fragrant, 15–20 seconds per side. Let cool.
Using kitchen scissors and working over a medium bowl, cut chiles into thin rings, reserving seeds. Cover with 2 cups very hot water and let soak for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook, turning often, until tender and skin is lightly charred, about 8 minutes. Let cool. Peel; trim ends.
Transfer chiles with seeds and liquid to a blender; add roasted garlic, 1½ teaspoons salt, and remaining ingredients. Pulse until a thick, coarse purée forms. Season with salt.
Fresh Corn Tortillas
Line the tortilla press with plastic and the dough will peel right off.
- 2 cups (or more) masa (corn tortilla mix; preferably Maseca brand)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Vegetable oil (for brushing)
Whisk masa and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in 1½ cups water; knead in bowl until dough forms. The dough should feel firm and springy and look slightly dry (think Play-Doh). Add more water by tablespoonfuls if too crumbly; add a little more masa if too wet.
Measure 1 heaping Tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten on a tortilla press lined with a plastic bag. If tortilla crumbles, dough is too dry (add more water); if it sticks to the plastic, dough is too wet (add more masa). Repeat, pressing out 2 more tortillas.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; lightly brush with oil. Cook 2–3 tortillas until charred in spots and edges start to curl, 1–2 minutes. Turn; cook through, about 15 seconds. Transfer to a kitchen towel; fold over to keep warm. Repeat, in batches, with remaining dough.
The tortilla is the playmaker, bringing all the elements of a taco together. Look for ones made with corn, and buy the freshest available. Or, even better, make your own.
Keep them Small—about the diameter of a hamburger bun—and plan on at least four per person. (Taco joints often double them up, but a single hand-pressed tortilla can stand up to any filling.) Always serve tortillas warm. If you’re serving them right away, stack them, inside a folded kitchen towel as they come out of the pan. Cooking ahead? Wrap the stack tightly in foil, and let the tortillas’ moist heat keep them warm. For store-bought, toast each side in a hot pan for a few seconds right before serving.
Shrimp in Adobo Stuffed Tacos
Use Mexican adobo, a vinegary chile paste, to season any protein. For this recipe, the shrimp is chopped, so there’s no need to splurge on a larger size.
- 6 dried ancho chiles, stemmed
- 4 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 pounds small or medium uncooked shrimp, preferably wild American peeled, deveined, cut into ¼-inch pieces
Ingredient Info: Dried ancho chiles are available at specialty foods stores, Latin markets, and some supermarkets.
Heat a large dry cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles; toast, turning often, until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Let cool.
Using kitchen scissors and working over a medium bowl, cut chiles into 1-inch rings, reserving seeds. Cover chiles with ½ cup hot water; let soak, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Transfer chiles with seeds and soaking liquid to a blender. Add garlic, vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt, oregano, cumin, and sugar and purée until a smooth, thick paste forms. Transfer adobo paste to a large bowl; add shrimp and toss until evenly coated.
Preheat broiler. Place shrimp on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Broil, watching closely and stirring halfway through, until shrimp are just cooked through and are browned in spots, 4–5 minutes. Season with salt.
Cumin and Ancho Chicken Tacos
Chicken thighs are more succulent than breasts and stand up to reheating without drying out.
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 3 Tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 3 Tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
Ingredient Info: Ancho chile powder is available at Latin markets and some supermarkets.
Toss chicken with ancho chile powder, cumin, and 2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl to coat. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with a thin layer of oil. Working in batches, place thighs in skillet in a single layer (do not crowd). Cover and cook until a crust forms, about 5 minutes. Turn; cook, uncovered, until thighs are just cooked through, 3–4 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter; let rest for 5 minutes.
Cut chicken into ½-inch cubes. Transfer with any accumulated juices to a medium bowl. Season with salt.
Do Ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool slightly. Cover; chill. Rewarm before serving.