whole food ~ well made

Go-To Tacos

A little meat, more salsa and a stack of good tortillas is fare for every day and many occasions.

It may not be an exaggeration to say that tacos are my lifesavers. When there’s little time or energy for making dinner: tacos. When we’re gathering friends on  the back deck: tacos. When I’m famished in the afternoon: a taco.

They really are the all-occasion food and for any time of day. It’s no wonder that taco trucks are popping up on city streets. In between meals, a single taco is a wholesome snack that doesn’t spoil the appetite. Multiply them, add a few crudites and you’ve got a complete meal whether it’s 11 a.m. or 9 p.m.

Recently The Daily Meal published my recipe for steak tacos. It reminded me all the reasons to love tacos especially in mid-summer when we’re maxing out outdoor time and wanting good food on the fly. How versatile, ready made and wholesome they are, a quartet of ingredients that exemplify how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Take the classic carne asada taco. Sure, it’s steak grilling time and all, but the star of this recipe isn’t the meat, but the salsa. This Avocado Tomatillo Salsa is one of my favorites because it’s a little unexpected. A blended not a chunky salsa, it has a creamy in texture from avocados with the bright flavor of tomatillos–just coming into season now.

The only other ingredient you need is a pile of warmed corn tortillas, the most authentic you can find. Add a pitcher of agua fresca and you are good to go. Invite a batch of hungry friends–or enjoy some all on your own as I did this evening with a gift of venison backstrap. That’s a luxurious meal in my book.

What are you making with your homegrown tomatillos this summer?

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

This recipe make a little avocado go far.
Makes 2 cups

6 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if you prefer milder heat
2 ripe avocados
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Fill a medium saucepan with about 2-inches of water and place the pan over high heat to bring the water to a boil. Add the tomatillos and jalapeño, reduce the heat to low, and steam until the tomatillos turn pale and soft, about 7 minutes.

Transfer the tomatillos and jalapeño with 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid into a food processor or a blender. Pit and peel the avocado and add it along with the garlic, cilantro, and salt. Purée until the salsa is very smooth and thick but pourable. Pour it into a small serving bowl and let it cool to room temperature before serving. Best eaten the day it is made, it will store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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