Traveling throughout Mexico you are going to find an enormous range of tacos on offer, so too if you travel throughout many regions of the USA. Whilst there are many arguments as to which are the best tacos or how they should be prepared, at the heart of all of them are some keys to what makes a great quality taco. I think it’s fair to say that over the years I have eaten my bodyweight in tacos on multiple occasions, and I have a clear understanding of exactly what it takes to create a delicious taco, and these are the essentials which all tacos must have.
So many think that the emphasis is all about the filling when it comes to tacos and whilst that is true, we must never forget about the need to have a high quality tortilla. Now there are of course arguments around whether that tortilla should be made from flour or maize, and the truth is that as you roam around Mexico you will see both options used for different types of tacos. One thing which is not acceptable are hard shell tacos. The best tortillas are made by hand, this is the start to the perfect taco.
The cilantro and the onions which are added to the tacos are not just there for the look, these are absolutely essential ingredients which provide the taco with flavour and freshness. The amount which you add of course is up to you, but one thing that you have to expect is freshness with these garnishes. The fresher the cilantro and the onion the more that flavour is going to pop and the better that it will be able to compliment the rest of the filling.
You should expect a range of salsa choices here, some for those who enjoy a bit of fire and some for those who do not. The big mistake which so many make however is that they do not consider flavour of the salsa, as much as they think about the heat. My friend and chef Rose Burillo showed me the enormous range of chillies here in Mexico, and they are not always hot. Chillies are important in the salsa of course but it is essential that the right combination is found so as to add real quality, depth ands smokiness to the salsa. The salsa is a game changer, is can resurrect a taco or destroy it altogether, which is why it must be high quality.
When you buy tacos they should not be filled wth meat or fish which has been keeping warm for hours on end at the top of the hotplate. What we are looking for here is meat which is straight off the plate or the grill and loaded into the taco. The idea of the taco is a small snack, easy to eat and high quality. To get this you have to have the filing coming straight from the heat of the cook to the tortilla.
These are the keys to a great quality taco.