This week’s Chef Inspired Taco is one that was designed to push the mental limitations of the Michiana diner. Chef has put much thought and technique into making this week’s taco into something truly unique and tasty. The ingredient chef has chosen for this week’s one that can be traced back to the early Roman Empire and their belief that the consumption of this ingredient would provide medicinal qualities. It is an ingredient that can be found throughout the great culinary cultures of the world. The Spanish, French, Argentinian, Italian and Mexican culinary cultures all have multiple examples of delicious preparations of this ingredient. Here in the United States, there a many fellow Americans that have enjoyed the taste and preparation of, what has been nick named, Rocky Mountain Oysters. Yes, we are of course talking about, “calf fries”, “cowboy caviar”, “bull fries”, “swinging beef”, “Montana tendergroins”, no matter what descriptive term given, they’re all still talking about the same thing, testicles!
Chef has chosen to push the Michiana diner’s mental boundaries and limitations once again, this time with his Taco de Criadillas. Instead of the ubiquitous fried testicle with hot sauce and cocktail sauce, chef decided to elevate this basic preparation into true culinary treat. Drawing inspiration from the use of hot sauce, chef found himself drawn to the habanero pepper. With its powerful punch, the habanero would truly provide enough heat, however it also would provide the amazing fruitiness it is known for before its signature heat sets in. The desire for heat and the use of habaneros drew chef’s attention to a salsa habanera, which in turn inspired him to a typical Yucatan preparation, Cochinita Pibil. Following the traditional preparation of rubbing the protein with achiote paste, a blend of chilis and spices, chef cleaned and marinated the testicles in the house made achiote paste. After marinating, the testicles were then sliced into thin strips, dusted with a seasoned flour, and then flash fried.
Keeping with tradition, this taco is topped with the spicy heat and fruity flavor of a salsa habanera, pickled red onion, and the fresh crisp taste of cilantro. One ingredient that is not necessarily traditional, but chef believes traditional Mexican style Crema is what takes this tacos from great to exceptional.