Taco Tuesdays, like Meatless Mondays or Fish Fridays, have somehow been relegated to specific days. In my world, tacos definitely should not be limited to Tuesdays. Breakfast lunch or dinner tacos are fun, nutritious and delicious. Getting creative with tacos is half the fun — next to eating them, of course.
Best to start with the basics like tortillas, yellow or blue, corn or flour, crunchy or soft. Deciding on the shell is the first task. Once you choose the vehicle you’re driving, the next part is planning what’s going inside.
I love breakfast tacos, from a simple egg and rice taco with Cholula hot sauce to a veggie taco with sautéed spinach and kale, eggs and rice or with black beans, cheese and rice. Warm a few tacos either in a pan or in the oven. A taco breakfast is easy, and the iterations are endless.
What is a taco without cilantro? I can eat it like salad, but there are many people who detest the herb claiming it tastes like soap. Julia Child was an affirmed cilantro hater. Cilantro pesto is one of my favorite sauces to add to tacos.
Chimichurri sauce is fabulous on steak tacos and salsa is a definite for topping off any taco. Whether it’s tomatillo, mango, pineapple, tomato and Pico de Gallo salsa, each offers a unique flavor to a taco meal.
Lunch & dinner
Tacos for lunch and dinner: let’s break it down. First anything goes when it comes to creating tacos. I love fish tacos, a mild white fish such as tilapia, halibut, mahi-mahi, snapper or cod, either grilled, sautéed or lightly battered and served with a cabbage slaw, diced red onion, avocado, lime, Serrano peppers and mango salsa is one of my favorite summer tacos. Fish taco sauce is a fan favorite; the sauce consists of sour cream, mayonnaise, lime, garlic salt and a dash of Tabasco or Sriracha sauce. I personally don’t add cheese to my fish tacos.
Shrimp tacos are also a winner in my taco repertoire. Steak, pork and chicken tacos are great for lunch or dinner and any number of sides make these tacos delicious. Slaw, cilantro, black beans, avocado or guacamole, sliced jalapenos, shredded lettuce, queso or Monterey Jack cheese, rice and lime are excellent sides to include on a taco bar along with hot sauce and salsa. My mom used to serve up ground beef tacos in a warm crunchy taco shell with shredded lettuce, diced onions, tomatoes and cheese topped with salsa.
Vegetarian tacos are also excellent with a base of black beans, refried beans or pinto beans topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, diced tomatoes and onions. Sautéed vegetable tacos topped with cilantro pesto and cheese are a great way to get a daily dose of veggies. Mexican street corn can be added to almost any type of taco.
Tacos for dessert
Last, but not least, are tacos for dessert. Heat a pan with vegetable oil, add a blue corn tortilla and sprinkle sugar on top. Once the tortilla is heated, fold in some fresh berries and whipped cream for a delightful summer dessert. Chocolate banana tacos or ice cream tacos with chocolate syrup are a crowd pleaser, especially with the kids.
There are a ton of places to get tacos in Tahoe. One of the newer taco haunts can be found at the west end of Donner Lake at the Little Truckee Ice Creamery. It is called Tacos Herrera, a taqueria at the creamery open on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Owners Jose Herrera, son Fernando and daughter Isabella prepare 300 pounds of beef for their Taco de Cabeza, which is made with shredded beef, cilantro and diced onion wrapped in soft gluten-free corn tortillas and served with one of the best homemade salsas I’ve tasted.
“We entered the salsa in last years Taco Fest in Reno and won the Best Salsa Award of Northern Nevada. It’s the mixture of heat and it goes with the flow,” says Fernando of the family’s signature red tomatillo salsa. “The beef takes four hours and is cooked to perfection.”
The family is originally from El Zapote Michoacán, Mexico. “It’s where carnitas originally came from,” he says.
Whether you are interested in hosting your own taco bar or sussing out a place to make yourself some tasty tacos, know that tacos of any kind, at any time, are subject to fun, flavor and creativity. If you find your way to Tacos Herrera, let Fernando know you heard about their tacos from the Tahoe Weekly.
Vegetable Taco with Cilantro Pesto
From the kitchen of Priya Hutner
½ C olive oil
1 C cilantro
1 clove garlic, sliced
½ C walnuts
Salt to taste
Add all ingredients in a blender, adding salt to taste. Chill in refrigerator.
1 T olive oil
½ medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced