My mother is a great cook, though she thinks otherwise. She has the patience to follow recipes to the T, quite unlike myself whose idea of following a recipe is glancing it over and giving it a go. She’s also been watching the Food Network since it’s inception in the early 90s, and she has obsessively recorded endless episodes featuring dishes she’d like to make… although I think she likes the idea of making them more than actually cooking them. But it’s cool, because it’s her thing. One of my fondest memories is when my mom decided to make Bobby Flay’s Black Pepper and Ginger Tacos with Red Curry Peanut Sauce. It was an event, and if you yourself have ever attempted a Bobby Flay recipe you’ll know that it’s fully involved. There are a million steps to follow and a sink inundated with dirty dishes, pans, and utensils by the end. The resulting plate full of food is usually worth it. This taco dish, though seemingly an easy accomplishment as the original Mexican taco intended, is one such Bobby Flay adventure. But my mom pulled it off in grand fashion and we found ourselves eating wayyyy too much and licking our fingers of every last drop of curry sauce. It was quite some time ago that the first Black Pepper and Ginger Tacos were had, I think I may have still been in high school, but this fourth of July we decided it was about time we had them again, this time made in my own kitchen. I know, 4th of July just screams Thai/Mexican fusion! Well, we in fact found it fitting as America is the melting pot and all. Plus, holidays are about eating and spending time with the ones you love, and we had a great time making them, like so many years ago.
Black Pepper and Ginger Tacos with Red Curry Peanut Sauce (only slightly adapted from Bobby Flay)
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- juice of 1 lime
Red Curry Peanut Sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 blue corn tortillas, (6-inches each), (I couldn’t find blue corn tortillas, so I used white corn tortillas)
- 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- Cilantro, for garnish
For Chicken Marinade: Whisk together soy sauce, oil, ginger, garlic, lime juice and black pepper in a medium shallow baking dish. Add the chicken breast and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Heat a large grill pan over high heat until smoking. Remove chicken from marinade and season with salt to taste. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until just cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes, slice each breast on the bias into 6 slices.
For the Red Curry Peanut Sauce: Heat peanut oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the curry paste and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the soy sauce, coconut milk and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the peanut butter and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To Assemble: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay tortillas out on a flat surface. Divide both of the cheeses among the tortillas. Top the cheese with 3 slices of the chicken, some of the red onion and cilantro. Fold the tortillas over to form a half moon and brush the tops with peanut oil. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cheese melts. Serve 2 on a plate, drizzle with the red curry-peanut sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.