I don’t know when Taco Tuesday became a thing. But I like it.
I thought for a while it was something the schools started, along with making leprechaun traps and hiding gold chocolate for St. Patrick’s Day and Silly Hat Day and Pajama Day and all the other stuff Scott and I just don’t get because we don’t have kids. I really feel for my friends who do, because the schools come up with the most godawful ideas for holiday activities. Seriously, when did leprechaun hunting become a thing?
So, being the food nerds we are, we did some digging.
Eventually, we found that it was part of a restaurant promotion started in 1982 by Taco John’s – and then re-trademarked by half a dozen other taco joints when that wasn’t enforced. The point? To stuff yourself with as many cheap tacos as possible.
That totally defeats the purpose of a meal. It’s like seeing how much Bud Lite you can drink at a keg party instead of sitting back, watching the colors change as the sun sets, and sipping a quality brew.
So because summer is nearly upon us and I’m still feeling the lovely culinary effects of my California visit, I offer up a tasty, easy alternative to going out for Taco Tuesday – these chili-lime marinated steak tacos, double wrapped in soft and crispy shells, with shredded lettuce, black beans, and avocado cream sauce.
Make from scratch where you want, buy pre-made where you want, and you can still get these babies on the table in under 20 minutes.
A quick, easy, summery alternative to calling out for Taco Tuesday!
- 8 crispy taco shells
- 8 soft taco shells
- 1 1/2 lbs thin-cut skirt steak
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 fresh limes
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin spice
- salt + pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- 1/4 cup shredded carrot
- 8 tbsp black beans
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 large avocado
- taco sauce
- 1/2 large avocado
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
Prep. Shred the lettuce, carrots, and cheese if you didn’t buy shredded (dude, even the Barefoot Comtessa says store-bought is fine if you don't have it, right?). Mix the lettuce and carrots together and set aside, and set the cheese aside.
Heat your oven to about 350F to warm and crisp the tacos. Ideally you’ll want a taco rack to help them keep their form. If you don’t have one, gently wrap the soft taco around the crispy taco and lay them on their sides, not touching, on a large cookie sheet. Let them sit in the oven for 10 minutes or until the edges of the soft taco are golden.
While all this is going on, marinate the steak. Brush both sides with olive oil until coated, dust with chili powder and cumin spice, squeeze two limes out over the meat, and add a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Let that sit for a moment while you make the avocado crema.
Slice up half an avocado into a small bowl and mash it up with a fork. Add the sour cream and mayonnaise and stir until creamy. Season to taste. And taste often. It's yummy.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Peel the garlic cloves, but don’t chop or mince them – crush them instead with either the flat of a chef’s knife or a frying pan and toss them into the butter.
Pan sear the steaks one at a time. If they’re thin, you should only need 2 minutes a side. Let them sit 3 minutes before slicing. Slice thinly into strips, about 1″ x 2.5″.
Fill each of the tacos with a spoonful of the lettuce mix, a spoonful of black beans, a few chunks of the remaining half avocado, 4-6 pieces of steak, and a spoonful of taco sauce. Top with a scoop of avocado crema and a small spoonful of sour cream.
I served mine with Zatarain’s black beans and rice mix and paired it with one of my new, bright summer favorites – Goose Island’s Four Star Pils. And yes, I will totally in a heartbeat use a rice mix, especially if it’s this darn good. Judge me if you will.
My next research project is to figure out where I first had the hard and soft double-wrap tacos, because it corrupted me permanently – now it’s the only way I like them.
Here’s wishing you all an awesome week full of summery weather and good things to eat!