Monday, February 2, 2009

crisp black bean tacos with feta and slaw

black bean tacos

Let me just get this out of the way before I begin: I’m a little embarrassed by this meal. Not because it took 10 minutes to make, but because it came entirely from things that were already packaged and it tasted… well, not bad, but certainly not like I made any great effort. I bet you can’t wait to sign up, huh?

smashing black beans

So why I am telling you about it? Because we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Even in New York City, where you can get anything delivered at any moment’s notice, there are days when one more meal that arrives in plastic-lidded foil containers will send you over the edge. I made this on one of those days. It was 8 p.m., we were both starving and I had one chance to ask Alex to grab something at the store on his way home and I didn’t want to miss it. So I Googled probably one of those most popular searches on the Internet, “10 minute meals” and, well, that pretty much brings us up to today.

slaw with scallions and lime juice

Before I get into all of the things I’d do differently next time (you know, besides “try for once to plan ahead for dinner”) you should know that we cleaned our plates. A lime-y slaw with bits of feta and cumin-scented black beans in a pan-crisped tortilla are nothing to complain about for dinner. In fact, I like all of those elements a lot, especially when I can get them on my plate in time for Top Chef. Where, ahem, I can’t resist pointing out that a whole lot of the food didn’t look half this good.

black bean lime slaw tacos

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw
Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2009

There are dozens of ways to tweak this. Next time, in keeping with the shortcut vibe, I might just use Goya’s canned black beans in sauce (which I’ve confessed to loving more than once) instead of mashing a can with what seemed like not enough seasoning next time. And, with the minutes that would save, I’d much rather use my favorite green onion and red cabbage slaw instead of the suggested one. If I felt like adding some extra protein, it would only take a couple additional minutes to saute some ground meat in a pan with onion and stir it into the beans — especially the saucier ones. But really, the possibilities are endless, so use the recipe as a loose guideline and have fun with it

Serves 4, or so I hear

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lime juice
2 cups coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Hot sauce

Place beans and cumin in small bowl; partially mash. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside, or if your name is Alex, drown your taco in a puddle of it.


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