WILD MUSHROOM TACOS
Sometimes simplicity is best. And these tacos are a reminder why. They follow the most basic taco arithmetic: tortilla + meat, in this case, meaty wild mushrooms imbued with smoke from the grill. The accompaniments are minimal: a simple, garlicky salsa, raw onion and cilantro. I know how tempting it is to stuff as much as you can into a taco, but I urge you to resist!
The mushrooms are definitely the star here. You can use whatever variety of mushroom you prefer. I’ve made these with shiitake, oyster, cremini, portobello as well as a number of combinations. My favorite is a 50/50 mix of cremini/oyster or cremini/shiitake. I enjoy the earthy meatiness of the creminis mixed with a subtler, gamier mushroom like a shiitake or oyster. But feel free to do your own thing. Just be sure you do it on the grill. The smokiness and those crispy charred bits are crucial to making these tacos as delicious and satisfying as possible. Supporting the fungus is an easy to whip up garlic and chili salsa that’s more garlic than anything else. It’s creamy and sweet with a nice amount of heat. Finally, the onions add a welcome crunchy texture along with the requisite aromatic cilantro.
¡Quiero dos tacos y una cerveza, por favor!
WILD MUSHROOM TACOS
Makes 8 tacos
-1 lb mushrooms of your choice, oyster, shiitake or crimini, stemmed
-neutral, high-heat oil
-1 head garlic, peeled and cloves pressed flat under a knife blade
-4-6 fresno chilies, seeded, diced
-1 tbsp neutral, high-heat oil
-1 lime, juiced
-½ tsp salt + more to taste
-1 small white onion, diced
-8 corn tortillas, warmed
1. Start with the salsa. Put a frying pan on medium heat and add the 1 tbsp oil and then the garlic. Sautee the garlic for 2-3 minutes until starts to soften up, being careful not to let it burn or brown. Add the chilies and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a blender or food processor. Add the ½ tsp salt and ½ of the lime juice and process until smooth. Add additional salt and lime juice to taste, keeping in mind that you really want the garlic to stand out. Let the salsa rest in the refrigerator for at least and hour. (If you can wait, this salsa gets really good after 24 hours in the fridge)
2. For the mushroom, get your grill fired up to medium-high heat. Place the mushrooms in a bowl and toss with a healthy drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt. Grill mushrooms to your liking. I find 2-3 minutes on either side is about right, getting nice char marks while still keeping them juicy. Transfer mushrooms to a butcher block. Give them a rough chop and a bit more salt.
3. To assemble tacos, spoon salsa onto tortilla and spread thin. Pile on mushrooms and top with onion and cilantro. Simple.