Monday, May 12, 2014

Charred Asparagus Tacos with Creamy Adobo and Pickled Red Onions

There are a lot of things that I love about this recipe.  The first is the asparagus itself.  Fresh asparagus is one of the things I love most about spring.  Charred in a pan with evoo, s&p, the asparagus was sweet but grassy.  The second is how wonderful the creamy adobo sauce is.  This is a sauce that I want to slather on all sorts of dishes - it is spicy, sweet and tangy.  Actually, I think this sauce would work really nicely with skirt steak tacos.  I told Alex that if we ever have people over for a Mexican fiesta I want to simply grill up some skirt steak for tacos and make these asparagus tacos.  You can use all of the same fixings for both sets of tacos, whip up some homemade guacamole and some elote and it will be an amazing meal.  Somehow you taste all of the various flavors here - the adobo sauce adds a ton of flavor without obscuring the flavor of the asparagus or the sweetness of the pickled onions.  My two biggest complaints about the Smoky Chicken Tinga Tacos we made were that the flavor of the chipotles obscured everything else and the tacos didn't have any texture.  All you tasted was heat and everything was soft.  This dish had varying textures and serious depth of flavor.  It was sweet, spicy, crunchy, creamy and tangy.  In a nutshell, these tacos were delicious.  And I will be adding them to my regular taco rotation.  They were great with fresh asparagus, but with all of the other flavors and textures going on, normal supermarket asparagus would work too.

Recipe after the jump!

Charred Asparagus Tacos with Creamy Adobo and Pickled Red Onions
Available on Serious Eats

2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded (we didn't have ancho chilis, so we used Anaheim chilies)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 chipotle chili and 1 tablespoon sauce from 1 can chipotles en adobo
2/3 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
2 teaspoons fresh juice from 2 limes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds asparagus (green, white, or a mix), bottoms trimmed, cut into 1-inch segments
24 corn tortillas warmed
Pickled Red Onions (see recipe below)
Queso fresco or queso cotija
Fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Heat ancho chiles in a medium saucepan over high heat, turning occasionally, until toasted and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a microwave-safe measuring cup and cover with 1 cup water. Microwave on high heat until just simmering, about 2 minutes. Let steep until chilis are softened. Drain chilis, reserving liquid.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, and cook, stirring frequently until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add vinegar, chipotle chili and sauce, and reserved chili liquid. Scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Transfer contents to jar of a blender along with soaked chilis, sour cream, and lime juice. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat remining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat until smoking. Add asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook without moving until well charred on bottom, about 2 minutes. Toss and repeat, allowing asparagus to char before tossing again. Repeat until all asparagus is charred and softened, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate.

Form 12 double stacks of tortillas. Spread a tablespoon of sauce over each one. Divide asparagus evenly between tortillas. Top with pickled onions, cheese, and cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges and extra sauce.

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