There is something soothing about eating food wrapped inside of a warm flour tortilla.  Corn tortillas are fine too, but I have yet to meet a corn tortilla that doesn’t at some point fall apart during the dining process.  Flour tortillas usually hold it together until the last bite.

In thinking about both National Soft Taco Day—which was yesterday—and National Taco Day—which is today, I realized that soft tacos are relatively new to me.  I have made and had many quesadillas using soft “tacos” (tortillas), but whenever I made tacos for dinner, I used to always use the hard corn taco shells.  That was what we ate when I was growing up.

Our family was not really into alliteration so instead of Taco Tuesdays, we often had liver and onions with crispy-fried potatoes on Tuesday nights for supper.  I remember the breakthrough with that meal when Mom started frying the liver in bacon fat.  “Ooh.”  When we did have tacos (on Wednesday night), it was from the standard yellow taco kit which included the hard shells, a packet of taco sauce and of course the packet of taco seasoning.  A pound of ground beef, shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes and freshly grated Colby cheese was all that was needed for an easy supper.  I remember the cheese grater which produced long feathery strands of Colby, perfect for melting on warm taco meat.  (It’s in the picture above.)  I am sure Dad diced raw onions too.  However, most of the memories I have of those meals occurred before I became an allium aficionado.

Since then, I’ve learned that tacos can be incredibly varied and exotic.  Not only can you make your own taco seasoning mix, but you can also make tacos with more than ground beef, lettuce, and tomatoes!  These days, I enjoy playing with different flavor combinations and using unusual ingredient (many from cultures where tacos are not traditional) when I make tacos—and teach Taco classes.

The “Tacos and Tequila” classes that I have been teaching the last few years at vomFASS’ Delectable have been incredibly popular.  I come up with new menus for each class and only use soft shells, because that’s logistically easier than trying to use hard taco shells.  I use both corn and flour tortillas, and I always make sure to warm them gently.  Some of the more intriguing taco combinations we have enjoyed making in class include:

  • Golden Fried Potato Tacos with Scallions and Lime Cream;
  • Grilled Chili-Rubbed Pork Tacos with Crisp Apple Salsa;
  • and Salmon and Smoked Mozzarella Tacos with Chipotle Coleslaw.

All soothingly delicious, wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.  Here is another one of my favorites with the recipe below.

Enjoy these Maple-Glazed Butternut Squash Tacos with Bacon and Brie with a sip of Patron or a wonderfully refreshing Poloma Cocktail… or both.  ¡Salud!

Chef Joel

Maple-Glazed Butternut Squash Tacos with Bacon and Brie

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups diced baked butternut squash, with no skin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper to taste
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ pound bacon, cooked, crumbled and warmed
6 ounces brie, side rind removed and cut into cubes or thin slices
Corn or flour tortillas (warmed)

Method:  Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the diced squash and spread out evenly. Cook several minutes until the squash begins to brown a bit. Carefully turn once and season with salt and pepper. Cook a bit more and drizzle with the maple syrup. Turn off the heat and stir to coat the squash with the maple syrup. Assemble tacos as desired with squash, bacon and brie.