I love tacos. I’m a fan of all the traditional versions, especially when prepared by experts. I would go out of my way for al pastor (a flavorful pork slow-cooked in adobo and pineapple) at Berkeley’s Casa Latina; de pescado (freshly caught fish with mayonnaise made from just-laid eggs) from a beach vendor in the little town of San Quintín on the Pacific side of Baja, Mexico; or lengua (beef tongue with salsa verde) from the Taqueria Sinaloa truck on International Boulevard in Oakland. But at home, I define “taco” loosely as just about anything wrapped in a corn tortilla, the great harmonizer of whatever meat, tofu, produce, or meal remnants happen to be kicking around in the kitchen. There’s no limit to the combinations of ingredients that taste good together piled on a tortilla and garnished with salsa, chili peppers, avocado, shredded cabbage, onion, fermented pickles, cilantro, and a splash of hot sauce. Here’s a book to get you started on your own home taco adventures.
Breddos Tacos: The Cookbook
by Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney
(Quadrille Publishing, 2017)
Neither Nud Dudhia nor Chris Whitney are Mexican. The two friends started a taco shack in a London parking lot, which eventually evolved into two restaurants that produce creative, original tacos and other dishes. Their cookbook shares recipes for some of their most popular dishes and provides inspiration for a great variety of foodstuffs that can be piled on a tortilla. The authors note up front that “Breddos Tacos is not an authentic Mexican offering.” Expressing deep respect and love for Mexican cuisine, they explain their approach: “[We] take flavours, techniques, and ingredients that we love from Mexico (and around the world) and develop recipes that we feel represent who we are.” To that end, the book offers over 75 recipes, with nicely styled, close-up color photographs for tacos, tostadas, and other items. Dishes, most designed to be folded into a tortilla, include Cauliflower ‘al pastor,’ Pineapple, & Pickled Onions; Yucatan Chicken with Mango Habanero Sauce; Beef Tartare, Tomatillo, and Jalapeno; Green Chorizo and Duck Egg. The book also includes accompaniments like a salad of Grilled Romaine, Preserved Lemon, Sour Cream, Parmesan, Anchovy, and Chicken Skin Salad. Unorthodox combinations like the Pastrami, Sauerkraut, & Russian Dressing chopped up on a tortilla taste much better than you might imagine. More than 70 different condiments and salsas—from Chipotle Cashew Nut Salsa to Jalapeño and Apple Relish—make up some of the book’s most intriguing offerings. Whether you’re following the recipes or inventing your own taco fillings, there’s much inspiration to be found in these pages.
Photos courtesy of Breddos Tacos.
Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers.