I just got back from a trip to San Diego and I must admit I was surprised at how much they like their tacos down there. Don’t get me wrong, I love tacos too and ate plenty of them while there. If any of you are ever there, make sure you check out a place called Oscar’s Mexican Seafood in Mission Beach! Crazy good seafood tacos. Hummm, my mouth is watering just thinking about them. Spicy shrimp, smoked fish and a yummy taco sauce that was to die for. Just a note, I didn’t receive anything compensation to talk about Oscar’s, it’s just great to share an awesome eating place with like-minded friends.
Anyway, while I haven’t had a chance to start working on recreating those wonderful flavors, I did want to share my recipe for Blackened Chicken Tacos (I also did mahi mahi at the same time but we forgot to take pictures of the fish tacos before eating them all up, so you might see fish in a few of the pics). I love blackening seasoning. It’s great on everything and you can use as little or as much as you like to create spicier food or just get the wonderful flavors in the blackening seasoning.
Now you can buy blackening seasoning just about everywhere or make up your own. The fun thing about blackening seasoning is that you can use your own combination of spices and herbs to create unique and interesting flavors. About the only thing that remains the same in a blackening seasoning is that there must be some form of chili powders to create the wonder spiciness. I’m going to give you the mixture I used, not the amounts because it’s up to you to use as little or as much as you like.
You can do the chicken breast in a pan on the stove or under the broiler but for the best flavors the grill is ideal. It just adds another layer of smokey flavor to your tacos that is just awesome. I also use this same seasoning and grilling method for fish, seafood or steak (NO, blackening seasoning is not just reserved for seafood!). Just remember not to over cook the meat!
For toppings, cabbage is a must with blackened tacos because it just melds with the blackening flavors and adds to it in a way that lettuce does not. Lettuce on tacos is actually a U.S. addition, in Mexico and most of the tropical islands, they use shredded cabbage. I like to make up a slaw and a fresh salsa or pico de gallo to go on my tacos. The pictures show my Blackened Chicken Tacos with Asian Slaw and a Grilled Peach and Avocado Salsa. Once again the grill was put to good use because I grilled the peaches and the avocados for the salsa.
Cheese is also not a big thing on more traditional tacos. Normally a little is used to enhance the flavors but not the handfuls that we Americans tend to use. It tends to hide the flavors of your tacos, so use a little. In this case, less really is more! I used goat cheese on these, but you can change it up depending on the toppings you use.
Do use corn tortillas instead of flour. A. They are better for you. B. They add so much more flavors to the food, especially when pairing with blackening seasoning. Toss them on the grill for a few seconds for more tasty flavors.
Anyway, just remember that tacos are supposed to be fun. Enjoy making up your own flavor combinations! We loved the combination of these Blackened Chicken Tacos with Asian Slaw, Grilled Peach and Avocado Salsa and goat cheese. My husband did have his doubts when I first set it all in front of him but after trying it, he couldn’t say enough good about the wonderful melding of flavors. Look for the recipe for the salsa in a future blog.
Blackened Chicken Tacos
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced in half
4 Tbsp. Blackening Seasoning (recipe follows)
Apply blackening seasoning to the chicken breasts and grill over medium heat until done (about 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness. DO NOT over cook). Remove from grill, allow to rest for about 5 to 10 minutes and then shred chicken. Serve with corn tortillas and toppings of your choice.
Makes about 8 to 10 tacos.
Ground Chipotle Pepper
Ground Cayenne Pepper
Mix together equal parts of the garlic, onion, paprika, peppers, salt, and oregano. Add 1/2 part of cinnamon. Mix well and apply liberally as a dry rub to chicken, beef, or seafood. Make a large batch and store extra to save time for later.
More Awesome Ideas for Blackened Tacos: