We have reinstated taco night. Long gone are the taco nights of my childhood, where hard taco shells are loaded with refried pinto beans, salsa, cheddar jack cheese, dollops of gaucamole and shredded iceberg lettuce. Taco night takes on a new meaning with locally sourced ingredients like radishes, greens such as Swiss chard or beet greens, sweet potatoes (garnet yams) and of course avocados.
Our first taco night didn't stray too far from the traditional taco. Inspired by two Marthas, I made cumin-scented refried black beans a la Martha Rose Schulman and a cilantro-lime salsa loosely based on a recipe by Martha Stewart. I filled white corn tortillas with the refried black beans, avocado and radish dressed in lemon juice and tossed with shallots, crumbled queso fresco and finished with a cilantro-lime salsa.
I was convinced that there was no way these tacos could be better than, or even as good as, the queso fundido with roasted poblano peppers (rajas) and mushrooms (hongos) tacos we made back in May. First of all I love roasted poblanos and second of all, vegetarian tacos must be smothered in cheese in order to taste good, right?
I couldn't have been more wrong. These tacos were so damn delicious that we just had to make them again a couple nights later, but this time we didn't even bother sitting down. That's right, we feasted on these incredible vegetarian tacos while standing in the kitchen and assembling the next batch.
Stay tuned for a recap of our next taco night: beet greens (or Swiss chard), sweet potatoes and black beans with feta and a smokey chipotle salsa.
Black Bean Tacos with Avocado, Radish, Cilantro-Lime Salsa
Refried Black Beans
1 tbsp canola oil
15 oz can black beans
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 cup water, or more
5 radishes, thinly sliced in rounds
1 avocado, diced
2 tbsp diced red onion or shallot
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 lime juiced, 2 tbsp
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
8 white corn tortillas
Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add ground cumin and chili powder, stir for a minute until fragrant and sizzling. Add a can of black beans with their liquid and 1/2 cup of water. Stir and mash the beans often, until the beans thicken and crust begins to form on the side and bottom of the pan, about 10 to 15 minutes. As crust forms, scrape the crust and fold it back into the beans. Add water if beans become too dry. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Avoid adding salt if you can or salt with caution as most canned beans contain enough salt. Remove from heat.
In a blender combine cilantro, garlic, lime juice and water. Blend until smooth, add olive oil and salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
In a small bowl, gently toss diced avocado, radish rounds and shallot with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a skillet over high heat. Warm the tortillas on the skillet until soft, about 30 seconds. Or wrap stacked tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave about 1 minute, until warm and soft.
To assemble, fill tortilla with refried black beans, avocado and radish, top with cilantro-lime salsa and crumbled queso fresco.