Deconstructed Taco

I have to admit I do have 2 major issues with this recipe. First, it means I still buy non-local ingredients from time to time, despite all my shouting about ethical food choices. For me, I don’t believe it’s possible to buy the entirety of your food, entirely local, entirely all the time. I think what you can do however is make a real effort to adjust your purchasing habits to local, seasonal and organic standards 90% of the time, affording you a 10% allowance to buy non-ethically – otherwise you might drive yourself crazy. So there. I said it – I still buy avocados, bananas, and the occasional case of non-ethical berries.
The second issue I have with this recipe stems from my feminist post-secondary education. I have some reservations about the colonial and imperialistic nature of appropriating particular symbols or traditions from cultures different from my own without understanding the meanings, importance, and histories behind them. This is especially difficult for me because I love fusion food and I can’t seem to get over the guilt I feel as a white, (relatively) middle class, English speaking, Western woman in relation to such politics. Is fusion food a tool of colonization (read: plundering, raping, pillaging, thieving, and/or victimizing those who I view as different)? Or, is it a method of collaboration between cultures? Can it be called a collaboration if I am simply working alone in my kitchen to create new dishes without understanding the legacies of particular foods or people? To pacify this (at least a little bit) I googled a few websites that explained “The Taco” and it’s history in Mexico – two Taco links are listed at the bottom of this post in case you’re curious.
Okay, guilt over. Food on.
I love tacos. But I wanted to do something a little different than usual. I thought, how do we make these babies fancy-pants? I wanted the same traditional flavors I tasted during my visit to Mexico a few years ago, yet I also wanted to make them something you could cozy up to a nice glass of Cabernet sauvignon with… I should also throw a shout out to my partner John here – he gave me the idea of crusting the avocado – a real texture shift! I wasn’t sure how well they were gonna fry but they turned out golden, delicious, creamy and crispy! There was a lot of mess in making this dish – lots of pans to clean! And while there are certainly quite a few steps, it really only took about 45 minutes to make. The cooking time is actually only less than 15 minutes – it’s all the prep that complicates this meal. But let me tell you – it was so SO so worth it!
So without further rambling, here it is….

Deconstructed Taco (2 Ways)


  • 2 C Fresh From the Garden Sweet Tomatoes, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 Medium Red Onion, diced.
  • 1/2 Red Chili Pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped.
  • 2 + 4 Garlic Cloves, minced.
  • 1 Tbsp Cilantro + 2 Tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped.
  • 4 Corn Tortillas.
  • 2 Avocados, peeled, deseeded, cut into eighths.
  • 1/2 C Creme Fraiche.
  • 3 Limes, 2 for zest + juice, 1 for garnish.
  • 4 4oz. Beef Tenderloin Steaks, seasoned well with salt and PEPPER!
  • 12 Tiger Prawns OR 1 Can Restaurant Style Re-fried Beans.
  • 1 C Flour.
  • 2 Medium Eggs, lightly beaten.
  • 2 C Panko Crumbs.
  • 1/4 C + 3 Tbsp. Butter.
  • 1 1/2 C + 2 Tbsp.Veggie Oil.
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil.
  • Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.


  1. First, make your homemade salsa in a bowl by combining tomatoes, red onion, chili pepper, 2 garlic cloves, 1 Tbsp cilantro, the juice of most of one lime, olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Let sit to allow the flavors to mingle.
  2. Next, infuse the creme fraiche with the zest of one lime and the juice of one half. Mix well. Taste. It should be refreshing, lime-esque, and thick enough to stand up on it's own without running all over the plate. If it's too thick or too runny, compensate with more or less creme or lime juice.
  3. In a wok or deep frying pan, heat 1 1/2 C veggie oil. Once hot (be careful not to let it get too hot since oil can spontaneously combust if allowed), add one tortilla at a time to fry until golden (approx 1-2 minutes on each side). Drain them on paper towels and allow to cool.
  4. In separate bowls, situate the flour, the eggs, and the panko crumbs. Mix the zest of the other lime, 2 Tbsp Cilantro, and 1 Tbsp of salt with the crumbs. Dredge the avocados in sequence, ensuring to coat well each time. Lay aside in preparation for frying.
  5. Multi-Tasking Time! In one skillet place1/4 C butter and 3 Tbsps + 2 Tbsp Veggie Oil in the other.
  6. In the "3 Tbsp Skillet", heat over medium heat - if you have cast-iron, use that. Add the beef tenderloin steaks and cook 5-6 minutes per side for medium-rare (the best way to cook these steaks!), and place aside to sit for 5-10 minutes, allowing the juices to absorb back into the meat. 
  7. Once your meat has been flipped, heat the "1/4C Skillet" over medium heat and toss in the rest of the garlic and after a few seconds, add the prawns. Once pink on one side, flip, and cook until done (about 2-3 minutes per side). OR prepare the re-fried beans as directed on the can (I'll try to make up a delicious recipe for re-fried beans in the future)...
  8. Once your steaks are set aside, drain and wipe out the wok/deep frying pan you used earlier for the tortillas. Heat the remaining 3 Tbsp Veggie Oil over medium-high heat. Add the crusted avocados and heat until golden - flip - and do the same on the other side. Depending on the temperature of your pan, it should only take about a minute or so on each side.
  9. To Plate: Lay 1/2 C salsa on center of the plate; place a tortilla on top; and finish with 4 slices of the crusted avocado to complete the salad. Add the prawns or beans on one side of the salad and the tenderloin on the other. Add a good dollop of the lime infused creme fraiche and a couple lime wedges for each person to lime-it-up according to their tastes.
  10. Eat.


PS. You could omit the protein options all together to make a light, vegetarian based appetizer. Yum!

Websites: The History of the Mexican Taco   or   The Mexican Taco    



  • John
    November 8, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    mmmm delicious…