Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tacos, Again

Tacos are the perfect Monday night food for me. Simple, fast, and if I plan correctly, no cooking necessary. Such was the case with the shrimp and black bean salsa taco that you see below.

Shrimp and Black Bean Salsa Taco with Avocado
I refreshed a few small pre-cooked and peeled shrimp under hot water, sliced an avocado, and made a batch of black bean salsa, shown below.

Black Bean Salsa
I've kind of stretched the definition of salsa ("sauce") a bit here; my salsa is more at a relish than a sauce but it serves the same function as a sauce. It contains black beans, tomatoes, orange pepper, red onion, garlic, cilantro, chipotle adobo, green onions, lime juice, and salt.

The basic rules for making salsas are:

1. Pick a fruit or fruits: tomatoes, tomatillos, sweet peppers, papaya, mango, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, peach, nectarine, etc. The fruits are the primary flavoring. In this case, I used tomatoes and sweet peppers.

2. Pick an onion or onions: red, yellow, white, green, shallots, garlic, leeks. The onions add crunch and some acidity. Here I used three onions: red, green, and garlic.

3. Chop a bunch of cilantro. You could use other herbs, but cilantro (or culantro) is almost always what you want.

4. Pick some heat: fresh green or red chile, pickled chile, chile sauce, chipotle adobo, crushed chiles, etc. I used a little smoky chipotle adobo in this salsa.

5. Pick an acid: lime juice, lemon juice, sour orange juice, other citrus, vinegar of any kind, tamarind, etc. The acid is key. Salsa needs to perk up your palate and for that, it needs to have an acid twang. I used lime juice.

And that's it. How you improvise and embellish is up to you. I love to add vanilla to mango or pineapple salsas. I love to add black beans to almost any salsa. Go, experiment, enjoy.

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