Summer announced its arrival with an insufferable heat wave this year. My sweat glands are weeping, my pores are wailing, and the mere thought of turning on the oven makes me want to cry to the heavens for relief. Not a pretty picture, I know.
Apologies in advance, as this surely will not be the last time I bemoan the heat this summer. This is also the first of several summer squash posts that I have in the works—I hope you enjoy interesting preparations of these light and refreshing, colorful vegetables as much as I do.
To tell you the truth, these tacos are great but the avocado chimichurri sauce really steals the show. I got my first taste of avocado chimichurri sauce at a remarkably good hotel restaurant in San Antonio a few months ago. Chimichurri sauce is an Argentine herb and olive oil sauce most often made with parsley. It is typically served on grilled vegetables and meat, but this avocado chimichurri sauce would be great on anything and everything with Latin flavors.
You could, for instance, serve the avocado chimichurri with huevos racheros or on a baked frittata filled with cherry tomatoes, red onion and black beans. Try adding it to kale and black bean burritos, serving it on tostadas or sub it for the avocado and cilantro in this burrito bowl. Dip a basic quesadilla into this stuff and it’ll become positively divine. I’d have no qualms dunking crispy French fries in this stuff, either. Refried black beans and cilantro lime rice served with grilled vegetables and topped with avocado chimichurri sauce? Fiesta time!
Before we get to the recipe, I want to share some notes on the method and ingredients. If I had a grill, I would have grilled the corn on the cob and slices of squash, but in my single girl, apartment dwelling ways, I do not. I chose to ribbon the squash because I like playing with my new vegetable peeler, but I think you could just as well cut them into small chunks like Kelsey did for her dill and feta squash tacos.
I think, in my haste to publish this black-eyed pea salad recipe a couple weeks ago, I forgot to tell you why black-eyed peas are so great. Black-eyed peas are beans—not peas—and they are perhaps my favorite white bean, because of their small size, mild taste and smooth texture. They deserve to be eaten year round, not just on New Year’s! If you’re not into black-eyed peas or can’t find them, black beans would be a great substitution. Lastly, after photographing the tacos as shown here, I tried adding feta cheese to one and shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the other. As much as I love cheese, I don’t think the tacos need it. Chimichurri and spicy slices of radish is just right.
- Olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 ear of corn, husked and kernels sliced off from the cob
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
- 2 small zucchinis, ribboned or chopped
- 1 small yellow squash, ribboned or chopped
- salt and black pepper
- big handful cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas or black beans (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
- about 6 small corn tortillas
- 3 radishes, sliced super thin using a mandoline, vegetable peeler or knife
- 1 cup parsley, lightly packed (mostly leaves, some small stems are ok)
- small handful cilantro
- 1 avocado, pitted, sliced into chunks and skin removed
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small lime, juiced or 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
- salt and black pepper
- First, make the chimichurri sauce. In a food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, avocado, garlic and lime juice or vinegar. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container once or twice. With the machine running, slowly stream in the olive oil and water. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and process again to blend well. Use a spatula to transfer the sauce to a small bowl and cover it.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the red onion and corn for about 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the jalapeño, zucchini, yellow squash and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or longer, stirring often, until the squash has lost a substantial amount of water. Reduce the heat to low and add the cherry tomatoes and black-eyed peas, stirring until the mixture is heated through. Remove the taco filling from heat and set aside.
- In a small pan over medium heat, heat each tortilla on both sides for a few seconds until warmed. Or, stack the tortillas on a plate, cover and microwave for a few seconds, until warmed through. Spoon taco filling into the middle of each tortilla. Top with ample chimichurri sauce (don’t skimp) and sliced radish. Serve immediately.
- Chimichurri sauce adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman.
- Yields around 6 tacos, enough for 2 very hungry people.
- Store leftover chimichurri in a small, air-tight jar for 1 to 2 days.
- Here is the best way to strip corn from the cob.
- Find Mark Bittman’s original chimichurri recipe at Lexi’s Kitchen. Check out other creative ways to use and make chimichurri sauce in the comments of this week’s Food Matters Project post. Don’t miss Sarah’s summer squash and skirt steak tacos with arugula-basil chimichurri.