Thursday, October 25, 2012

Taco Chic

There's something immensely gratifying about taking something ordinary, like the taco, and elevating it to a level that's impressive enough for company. Carne asada tacos are everywhere and there's some great ones out there, but filet mignon tacos are something special. It may seem a tad bit extravagant, and of course you could substitute chopped chicken, or ground beef, or even shrimp, but if you're looking for a twist that will knock your socks off, this is the recipe. If you're going to make an amazing taco, an amazing tortilla is essential. My favorite brand is LaTortilla Factory. They're hand made and a delicious mixture of corn and flour so the texture is soft and pliable, so they don't split like regular corn tortillas. You can find them at Whole Foods, but I've seen them popping up more and more in regular grocery stores as well. They're definitely worth tracking down.

 Filet Mignon Tacos with Pink Chile Sauce
 & Mango Radish Avocado Salsa 

Makes 12 tacos 

1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo
½ cup water

1½ pounds filet mignon, cut into ¼-inch dice
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoons chipotle purée, or more to taste
½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, minced
12 soft corn tortillas, to serve
Grated aged white Cheddar cheese, for garnish
Bottled hot sauce, for garnish, optional

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chipotle purée, or more to taste
Juice of ½ a lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 mangoes, diced
4 to 5 red radishes, diced
½ red onion, diced
1 avocado, diced
Juice of 2 limes
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
4 scallions, finely sliced on a bias
½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
In a blender purée the chiles and water until smooth.
To make the taco meat, combine the filet mignon, salt, pepper, coriander and cumin in a bowl and mix well to coat the beef. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. When hot, spread the seasoned beef in the pan in a single layer and do not move. This will sear one side of the meat. After 1 minute, toss the meat to brown and cook the other sides. Mix in 1 tablespoon or more of the chipotle purée and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Add another tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and sauté the onion and jalapeño until softened and slightly caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the meat and mix until combined. Set aside.
To prepare the pink chile sauce, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, chipotle purée and lime juice and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
To prepare the mango radish salsa, combine the mango, radishes, onion, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, oil and salt and pepper.
To make the taco slaw, mix the cabbage, scallions and cilantro leaves in a bowl. Set aside.
To serve, spoon the meat into warm tortillas, sprinkle with cheese, top with the mango salsa and cabbage slaw. Serve with your favorite hot sauce.

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