10 November 2014

Smoky Guacamole Tacos with Persimmon Salsa


How do I begin to explain my joy of tacos, something so part of me, such a fundamental element of the flavors of my childhood? If you're a long-time follower you already know that Mexican flavors are my ultimate comfort food. To enhance my enjoyment of them, I was lucky enough to have married a guy who loves them as much as I do. And these tacos are a simple and quick way to bring that enjoyment to our my table (and yours) any night of the week.

Avocados are given a quick mash-up with lime, chili, and cumin while black beans stew on the stove with garlic, cumin, and smoked paprika. The persimmon salsa is a fresh, zingy, sweet, and welcome counter to the smoky beans and guacamole. If persimmons are not in season or you can't find them, mango would be a perfect substitute. 

Corn tortillas are my preference when it comes to tacos. If you can believe it, there is a small Mexican store here called El Sabor that sells locally made corn tortillas. Though I don't love washing dishes and I don't love baking, I do oddly enough love making flatbreads, of any kind, especially when I can engage the help of a press. There's something very cathartic about the process for me, so I usually make my own corn tortillas with masa harina. But if I'm out of masa, you can find me at El Sabor. This being said, if corn tortillas are not accessible to you, flour tortillas or any sort of thin flatbread will work. 

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Smoky Guacamole Tacos with Persimmon Salsa
Serves 4 (with leftovers) or 6 (without leftovers)

Notes: When I make tacos, I like to enjoy them for a few meals, so making extra filling allows for subsequent meals to come together quickly.

Stewed black beans (recipe below)
Smoky guacamole (recipe below)
Persimmon salsa (recipe below)
Corn tortillas (or other thin flatbread)
Couple handfuls toasted pumpkin seeds

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and warm in the oven or toast in a dry skillet. Serve wrapped in a dish towel so they stay warm and don't dry out.

To assemble, layer guacamole at the bottom, then black beans and persimmon salsa. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Stewed Black Beans
3 cups (546 g or 2 15 oz. can) cooked black beans
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water

Rinse and drain beans if using canned. Add everything to a medium sauce pan over medium heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally while preparing other components. Halfway through, use the back of a wooden spoon to mash half of beans to thicken the mixture slightly.  If there's too much liquid left at the end, simple simmer 3-5 minutes longer with the lid off.

Smoky Guacamole
2 ripe avocados
1 small red onion, minced (reserve half for salsa)*
Large handful cilantro + tender stems, chopped (reserve half for salsa)
1 small clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
Juice 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp. salt

Add all ingredients (making sure to reserve half of onion and cilantro for salsa) to a medium mixing bowl; mash everything together with a potato masher or a fork until desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Persimmon Salsa
Notes: Substitute mango if persimmons are not in season.

2 firm but ripe Kaki (or Fuyu) persimmons
Reserved minced red onion
1 small red chili (or jalapeno), minced
Reserved chopped cilantro
Juice from 1/2 - 1 lime (depending on sweetness of persimmon)
Salt, to taste

Peel persimmons and dice. Add to a small mixing bowl with remaining ingredients. Stir to combine; taste and adjust seasoning with more chili, cilantro, and lime as needed, to balance sweetness.

*Red onions run on the small side here in Switzerland, so use what would be considered a large red onion if you live here. In the US, use a small red onion.