h=”650″ height=”798″ />Installment #1 of Chile Pepper Profiles. These are some of the peppers I’ve used in this week’s, um, experiment of a recipe. Learning is growing! And this way the learning is perrrrrrty. Just in case you’re not aware of the Scoville scale of pepper heat, here’s a super in-depth explanation. Also, all of the photographed (and used) peppers this week were purchased dried. I’ll give a little demo on how to reconstitute in the next couple of days. More to come.
s Al Pastor are absolutely the most delicious taco, in my humble opinion, but ONLY if they are done correctly. They combine grilled pineapple and chili-spiced pork shavings to create an incredible balance of flavors and heat. When it comes to making the perfect Al Pastor at home, however, the problem is this: spit. A spit, I mean. The pork is sliced into thin cuts and stacked on top of one another on a metal rod situated above a flame, topped with a pineapple, that both breaks down the protein in the meat and creates a sweet glaze, and is slow-roasted while slices are shaved off. This means each taco has both the tender interior and crunchy outer layer.
Mark Miller, in his aptly named book, Tacos, says this of the origins:
The meat for these “shepherd’s” tacos is commonly seen roasting on vertical spits displayed with pride on street stands throughout Mexico. The spits are usually topped with a pineapple, which is thinly sliced and served in the tacos. This method of cooking meat is identical to that used for the spit-roasted lamb (shawarma) brought to Puebla, Mexico, by Lebanese immigrants in the 1930s. The technique was copied by the Mexican taqueros (taco masters), who substituted pork for lamb. The original stand for tacos al pastor still exists in Puebla, with vertical spits of pork still revolving in front of its huge wood-burning hearth.
Due to the fact that my kitchen is the size of a sink and I lack any outdoor space where I could possibly keep a grill, this week, I’ll be experimenting with an at-home version of the spitified meat. Tomorrow, I’ll also be sharing the most “authentic” version of the marinade I can find (which seems to be a well-kept secret for anyone worth their taco) and some info on the different types of dried peppers I’ll be using.
” width=”1000″ height=”938″ />Tacos are AMAZING.
First, learn how and where to find the best tortillas in your city. (We’ll cover that later for the New Yorkers and New Orleans-ers.) Second, think to yourself, “Gee, I want a delicious meal rolled up in those fresh and tasty tortillas that I just procured.” And then BOOM! the real fun part: come up with any of a million possible combinations to satisfy you and your special eating buddies.
I recently read in Bon Appetit, a quote by David Chang: “I don’t care about authenticity. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. I just want to make something delicious.” Although Chang was talking about Korean food, the same can be said of tacos. It’s a dish that dates back to the time of the Aztecs who rolled up corn tortillas and filled them with small fish and I’m sure there are those taco aficionados that will only consume the world’s most authentic Al Pastor, but really, you can fill a taco with anything. They’re traditionally only found on street carts in Mexico in the morning or the evening, but in most cities these days, you can grab one for lunch off of your hippest local food truck. And don’t get us wrong, we’re not knockin’ tradition, but with the options you’ve got at your slimy little fingertips, why would you ever deny, say, the Kimchi Tacos at New York’s very own Kimchi Taco Truck. The bottom line is, you’d be crazy to. You just have to run up to Taco Mix for their super-authentic-mouth-watering-omg Al Pastor later in week.
But the REAL concern when creating (or choosing to consume) a taco is balance. Crispy pungent onions on top of a mound of rich, deeply flavored beef. Sweet juicy mango and crunchy pickled radish with delicate blackened shrimp. Mmmmmm. Now, I’m hungry. By following a couple of loose guidelines when addressing the overall profile of said taco perfecto, the content combos can be super fun to play around with and share with fellow taco admirers.
The next couple of weeks, A Love of Good is gonna be lovin on some tacos, so we thought we’d hook you up with our personal guide to how we pick and choose our favie rolled up yummies. Buen provecho!