When I met The Man, he claimed to not like Mexican food. But I love Mexican food! Ok, I thought, this is a small concession that I can live with. But a life without Mexican food means no fresh salsas, no garlic and cilantro marinated meats, no cheesy saucy baked tortilla dishes….no Margarita Thursdays!? Ok, this was a bigger problem than I first thought!
His former experience with Mexican cuisine involved greasy, bland concoctions that contained suspect meat products and void of all vegetables. Yea, I would hate that too. When I think Mexican, I think fresh, full of complex flavors, and tons of color. Well it turns out that he doesn’t hate Mexican food – he just hates bad Mexican food! Phew! We dodged a bullet there…
Let’s start with the meat. Whether I’m making chicken or steak tacos, I like to start with the same marinade – a cilantro and lime vinaigrette with a hint of spice and lots of citrus. After a few hours in the acidic and flavor punching bath, meat has no choice but to be tender and juicy. A few minutes on a hot grill, and you’ve got a fab foundation for a great taco.
The choice of taco toppings is endless – sliced avocado, salsa, shredded lettuce, cilantro, cheese, corn salsa, guacamole, chipotle sour cream, diced tomatoes, sauteed onions and peppers….in fact, if you’re hosting a casual party, a taco bar is a great buffet idea! Tonight I’m gonna go with fresh mango salsa and sliced avocado (and probably a little cheese and sour cream too…). If you can’t find good fresh mango, frozen works alright too. It’s not quite as good – but it’s better than no mango salsa.
Cilantro & Garlic Tacos
- 1 1/2 Lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 C. cilantro and garlic marinade
- Flour tortillas
- Mango salsa
- Sliced avocado
- Shredded cheddar
- Sour cream
Marinate chicken breasts in marinade for at least 6 hours. Remove from marinade and grill on medium for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Allow meat to rest for 10 minutes, then shred with 2 forks.
Warm tortillas on the grill for about 1 minute per side. Alternately, heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds.
To assemble, place a scoopful of chicken on to warm taco shell. Top with mango salsa, 2 slices of avocado, a Tablespoon of cheese, and a small spoonful of sour cream.
Cilantro & Garlic Marinade
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 jalapeno, halved
- Lime zest and juice, from 1 lime
- Handful fresh cilantro
- 1/3 C. orange juice
- 1/3 C. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. cumin
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until everything is smooth and combined. Marinate chicken for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Makes enough marinade for 6 chicken breasts.
- 1 mango, diced
- 1/4 C. red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
- Handful cilantro, chopped
- Juice of one lime
- 1 T. olive oil
- Pinch of salt, pepper, and cumin
Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until needed.