Remember how I love Mexican food? Well, sometimes I like to try to make my own Mexican food – because hey, I am ambitious. I wanted to do something relatively simple and abundantly fresh so chicken tacos with a fresh pico de gallo was just the ticket.
I started with the pico de gallo first to allow the flavors to marry before topping my taco. Although you can use a variety of tomatoes I prefer to use cherry tomatoes because of their tart bite and generally they burst because they are so plump. The perfect way to start my pico. I diced them into fairly small pieces and placed them in a bowl. Next I took red onion. Now again, this is totally up to you. You can use a yellow or white onion as well. I just chose red because its vibrant color contrasts nicely with the bright red tomatoes. I diced it the same size as the tomatoes.
Some pico de gallo recipes stop at this point. I say no, I must forge on. The best way to do this is by adding my favorite herb, cilantro. Chopped up thinly – stems and all and into the bowl. It goes great in just about anything because of its distinct fragrance and the freshness it brings to every dish it accompanies. I have loved cilantro since I was a little girl and though there have been others (parsley mostly, sometimes basil), no herb can push cilantro from my its top spot in my heart.
What’s not to love?
To give the 3 ingredients a squeeze of acidity I used the juice of one lemon.
This part is optional, if your tongue is a little faint of heart, the hot pepper. I just used one because, and I am ashamed to say this, my tolerance for heat has severely decreased. I know I know, I am working on it.
Anyway, after dicing it up pretty fine I tossed this bad boy into the skillet to give it a little more heat.
I only cooked them for a few minutes because I wanted them to retain their crunch.
After giving all the ingredients a cook stir, a dash of salt and pepper to taste, and my pico was ready to sit and stew.
Now on to the other parts of the taco. Rather than do the traditional beans or rice or lettuce I thought something starchy would be really good. Potatoes fit the bill. I chopped them up, put them in the skillet mentioned before added some water to soften them up and them made ’em spicy. TONS of cayenne pepper, parsley flakes, dried basil, salt, and pepper.
Now on to the chicken. I wasn’t totally sure what flavors I wanted to incorporate. I recently had fried chicken smothered in Tapatio, and I gotta tell you it tasted just like a hot wing without the bones – SCORE! So I thought why not have that same flavor combo minus the fried part. This is a relatively healthy meal, remember? Relatively being the operative word. Because I was going to be cooking the chicken in a pan I wanted to add some sort of fat to it to prevent the bird from sticking. Generally I am NOT a fan of mayonnaise but word on the street is that mayo and Tapatio is fan-tas-tic. Any skepticism should be removed from your mind.
If it is any consolation to calorie conscious consumers, most of the mayo stayed in the pan leaving just the hot sauce soaked into the tender breast meat. Once it was ready to come out of the pan I put it on my cutting board, took 2 forks and started shredding it to make it much easier to eat.
I used simple corn tortillas for the shell. I turned on a stove burner and let them get a bit charred on both sides for a warm crispy taste.
Now time to assemble. It went a little something like this…
Plate. Tortilla. Piping hot potato. Shredded chicken. Grated mozzarella cheese. My homemade pico de gallo. A few slices of avocado.
Not to toot my own horn too much, but wow this taco was divine with a definite kick. The potatoes, the chicken, and the pico all had heat but each of them different and gave the dish a very dynamic taste. The worst part about it? Because everything was so juicy and succulent my poor little tortilla couldn’t handle it and ripped. Thankfully onto my plate. I remedied the situation by using my hands to scoop the fallen into my mouth.
Don’t judge me. I know you would’ve done the same. Don’t lie.