A lighter, meatless take on taquitos
Tacos dorados in Mexico City are what I grew up knowing as taquitos: rolled tubes of corn tortillas, stuffed with some sort of meat and fried until crisp. At fondas in the capital, they’re generally served three or four to a plate and covered in crema, crumbly cheese and lettuce. Most fondas will prepare at least one vegetarian dish on their comida corrida menu, but it still surprised me to see carrot tacos at my friend Miguel Garduño’s tiny eatery in Azcapotzalco. One bite revealed a crispy exterior and steamy, salty shredded carrot innards, so plain and pretty that I couldn’t help wanting to make them at home. They’re deceptively easy and don’t need much beyond raw carrots and salt. I pan-fry these instead of deep-frying, and I like lots of acid (lime juice and tomatillo salsa) and beans on the side. You’ll also need toothpicks to secure them closed while cooking.
Crispy Carrot Tacos (Tacos Dorados de Zanahoria)
- 5 cups grated carrot, about 3 large carrots
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1/4 cup canola oil, plus more if needed
- 1 16-ounce container Mexican crema
- 1 14-ounce package queso fresco, or any other creamy, crumbled cheese
- 3 to 4 limes, cut into wedges
- Tomatillo Salsa, for serving
- Heat the oven to 200°F and line a baking sheet with a wire rack, or several layers of paper towels.
- In a mixing bowl, toss the grated carrot with the salt.
- Warm the corn tortillas on a comal or in the microwave and place in a dishcloth to keep warm.
- Place one tortilla on a work surface. Using your hands or tongs, place a small handful of carrot in the center, taking care not to spread the filling all the way to the edge. Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling and secure closed with a toothpick. Repeat until you’ve got 12 tacos.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the tacos seam-side down and cook until they start to smell toasty, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn over and fry on the other side until golden. (If you’re a perfectionist like me, you can also roll them around a bit with tongs to make sure they’re fried evenly on all sides.) Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, then keep warm in the oven. Repeat until all the tacos have been fried.
- To serve, place 3 tacos on a plate, slather with a layer of crema and top with crumbled cheese. Pass lime wedges and tomatillo salsa at the table.