Every Day is Taco Day in Texas
This is a guest post from Chef Tudi Frank-Johnson, who is an amazing teacher and chef.
Where did that even come from? I grew up in San Antonio, Texas so every day could be Taco Day. Actually, in our house, it was Wednesdays. My mom made her signature ground beef stuffed in salty, pan-fried corn tortilla shells. She would ask each of us how many we wanted and she’d fill your plate with 2, 5, or even 8. These were always topped very simply with diced tomatoes, shredded iceberg lettuce, and the JUICE from Trappey’s Torrido hot peppers. In Texas, we always had Breakfast Tacos-fat handmade flour tortillas filled with beans, cheese, eggs, pico de gallo, chorizo, ham, bacon, brisket-whatever you could imagine.
Times have changed. My husband had a recent bout with cancer and I too am a survivor. We made the decision to go meatless for our health. We are now Pescatarians, still enjoying fish and some dairy.
Taco Tuesday for us has evolved into many different variations of meat-free tacos. I have made taco “meat” filling from TVP*, Walnuts, Mushrooms, and Plant-Based Burger. I heavily spice these and they taste great. When I make these “meaty” fillings, I will step up the condiments to balance the flavors.
Veggie Fajitas are a staple in our house too. I’ll grill up all kinds of squash, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. These are delicious, marinated, grilled, and stuffed in flour tortillas. Blackened Catfish or Mahi Mahi make delicious Fish Tacos and Grilled Shrimp Tacos are one of my all-time favorites.
Tonight, we’re having Grilled Pineapple Tacos with Guacamole and Black Beans. With these tacos, crisp radishes, cucumbers, and juicy limes are the perfect match.
You just peel and cut the pineapple off the core and into lengthwise wedges. Brush each wedge with a little soy or teriyaki and a bit of olive oil to marinate. Grill till lightly charred over medium heat. The pineapple takes on a “meaty” texture and becomes intensely sweet. These are served in grilled corn tortillas with a little chipotle mayo, shredded cabbage, salty cotija cheese, and hot pink pickled onions. Each bite has all the tastes-Sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami.
You could also brush the pineapple spears with BBQ sauce and go Southern vs Mexican. Just stuff in flour tortillas, top with creamy coleslaw and cheddar cheese for BBQ Pineapple Tacos. I love both versions.
I hope you’ll give them a try and be surprised how easy and delicious they are. Tacos...they’s not just for Tuesdays anymore.
Grilled Pineapple Tacos
From Chef: Tudie Frank-Johnson
Ingredients Amount Measure Notes
Fresh Pineapple 1 large, about 3 lbs
Teriyaki or soy sauce 2 Tbsp
Olive oil 1 Tbsp
Black pepper pinch
Thick corn tortillas 8
Green cabbage ¼ small head shredded finely, about 2 cups
Cotija Cheese ½ cup crumbled finely
Pickled Red Onions* 1 cup drained
Black beans 4 cups Canned or your favorite recipe
Chipotle Mayonnaise ¼ cup Mix ¼ c mayo + 1 Tbsp adobo sauce
from can of chipotle chiles
Avocados 2 48 ct
Roma Tomato 1 each finely diced
Serrano chile 1 each finely diced
White onion ¼ cup finely diced
Cilantro 2 sprigs minced fine
Salt & lime to taste
Fresh cucumbers and radishes for garnish
Peel skin and core the pineapple.
Cut into 8 long wedges and remove seeds if necessary.
Mix sauce with olive oil and brush all sides of pineapple wedges. Season with pepper.
Put in a ziplock bag and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to grill.
Make guacamole by scooping avocado into a bowl and adding the other ingredients. Add salt and lime juice to taste. Cover with plastic.
Heat black beans and keep warm.
Heat grill to medium-high. Grill pineapple wedges till slightly charred on both sides about 4 minutes total.
Grill tortillas till pliable and heated through with a little char on edges.
Drizzle each tortilla with chipotle mayo and top with pineapple spear, green cabbage, cotija cheese, and pickled red onions.
Serve with Guacamole, Black Beans, Cucumbers, and Radishes.
*Pickled red onions-2 red onions, 1 sliced orange, 1 half habanero pepper(optional), 1 cup red wine vinegar, 1 cup water, 2 Tbsp salt, 4 Tbsp sugar. Slice red onions with grain and stuff in a large heatproof jar with orange and chile. Heat remaining ingredients to a boil then pour over onions. Let sit on the counter till cool then store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.