Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Salad Tacos

We love tacos. We love filling the center of the table with bowls and plates of sliced onions, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, guacamole, chopped hard-boiled egg and salsas. We assemble our own with refried beans, reaching and passing and getting messy and overstuffed. It's a great casual dinner with friends or family, but what if it's just the two of us? This week I came up with a great way to have tacos with less mess by combining the taco basics -- tortillas, beans and cheese -- with one of my favorite summer dishes, chopped salad. Jack and I agree that it's now our favorite way to have tacos; every one is perfect and delicious and there are fewer dishes to wash!

Summer Salad Tacos

1 lb. Dominican Red Beans, rinsed and soaked overnight. Any beans will do. I usually make refrieds with black beans but I'm trying to branch out and these are pretty.
 Drain the beans, cover with fresh water and cook until very tender with a chopped onion and a couple of bay leaves. Drain, but save the cooking liquid.

Saute in corn oil a large onion, chopped, and 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced. Add a couple of minced jalapeno peppers and a can of chopped tomatoes or an equivalent amount of fresh.
Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground cloves and the juice of half a lemon. Simmer for a while, then add the drained beans. Cook until the beans are falling apart. Use the cooking liquid if they get too thick. Most people mash them into a puree, but I like some texture to them. Do them however you like. Add salt -- you'll need a lot -- and correct the seasoning.
For the salad we chopped lettuce, red onions, seeded cucumber, peeled avocado, green peppers and tomatoes. I also had a small yellow squash that I diced and sauteed until brown. If I'd had fresh corn or zucchini I'd have added those too. I suppose you could dress the salad, but I left it plain.
Assemble tacos with the beans and grated cheese, then pile on the chopped salad and top with salsa.They were so good we had them again a few nights later.

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