The perfect taco

I enjoy many different kinds of food, but overall I think my favorite meal comes from the humble taco.

But this is no humble taco. This might be the best taco anywhere in the world. But it’s super simple. Here are the ingredients you’ll need along with how to put it all together:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Chorizo (Mexican sausage)
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onions
  • Cilantro (aka coriander)
  • Limes
  • Sour cream
  • Salt
  • Oil (I like olive oil but I’d start with canola oil because it doesn’t have such a distinct flavor)
  • Optional: jalapeños and/or other chili peppers

Start by slicing up your lettuce. This is pretty simple (along with the rest of this really). Just think taco style.

Next, dice up your tomatoes and red onions. Smaller dicing is better, but not mincing or mashing. For the perfect taco, get rid of all the slimy stuff in the middle of the tomatoes and just use the firm parts toward the outside. Also, dice your peppers if you’re including them… and I’d remove the seeds.

(I actually prefer this without any peppers because I think it lets other flavors come through better… some people have to feel tough, though, by spicing it up. 🙂 )

If you’re trying to be an eco-friendly, health nut, leave the stems on the cilantro, but if you’re trying to make the perfect taco, ditch the stems. You can tear up some of the cilantro leaves if they’re too big.

Combine all of these diced ingredients – the tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro leaves (and peppers) – and then squeeze a bunch of lime juice on top. Add some salt. At this point, if you’re like me, you should be able to sit down and eat this as is because it’s delicious. But don’t – set it aside for now. That’s your pico sauce.

Time for some cooking. In one pan, heat some oil. In another, start cooking up the chorizo, chopping as you go with a spatula. When the oil’s hot enough in the first pan, throw in a tortilla. The healthier version would avoid all this frying. You could use two uncooked, room temperature tortillas per taco instead. But this isn’t about health – it’s about perfection. Fry ’em.

After just a couple seconds really, pull out your tortilla and set it on a paper towel or something to drain off some of the oil. When it’s cool enough to handle, you can start adding your ingredients.

  1. The chorizo: Add a nice line of meat along the diameter of the tortilla. Yep, I knew I took geometry for a reason.
  2. More lime juice: I like it directly on the meat, but you might try experimenting around with this, like switching this with the next step.
  3. The lettuce: Remember, you have a lot of other ingredients to add, so don’t get carried away here.
  4. The sour cream: Instead of dropping one big blob in the middle of the taco, use a spoon and fork to drop it in a line directly over the other ingredients to make every bite perfect. This is perfection. Something about the flavor of sour cream on lettuce is ridiculously good to me. Maybe it goes back to the days when getting sour cream and lettuce meant getting something expensive from Taco Bell. 🙂
  5. Finally, the pico sauce: I like how it sticks to the sour cream. Plus, it looks nice on top and contributes to the wonderful aroma while you’re eating.

All right, there’s a lot going on here as far as flavors go. But after a lot of experimenting, I think this is my favorite version. I’m pretty sure this is the perfect taco.

Dig in. Repeat.