Ten Tiny Tacos
There is a bar in Cambridge called Middlesex Lounge that is nearly empty from 5pm to 8pm, making it a great spot for a big group of friends looking to hang out after work. After 8pm, Middlesex plays bad music, and MIT students show up to dance badly to it. This is fun on some nights and sad on others.
Among my friends, Middlesex is famous for an appetizer it offers called Ten Tiny Tacos. Ten Tiny Tacos aren’t listed on this online menu, but I have confirmed that they are still alive and kicking. And why not? At a cost of $10 per order, or $1 per tiny taco, making these must be like minting money. I’ve tracked down an old picture of the pork edition, but I don’t yet have a shot of the bean edition.
Fortunately, we long ago deciphered the recipe for this snack. I have been frustrated because it includes one ingredient that is decidedly not bottom-up: Tostitos Scoops chips. They make a great vessel for these tacos, but I can’t make them, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. If you know how, please leave a comment. In general, this recipe is much less “bottom up” than I’d like.
Instead of making these ten at a time, I like to make a batch of about fifty – enough to make it worth your while, and sufficient food for dinner for two. To do this, you will need:
- 1/4 bag Tostitos Scoops
- 12 oz black beans
- 1/2 an avocado, cut into 1/2″ squares
- 1 shallot or small onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced very thinly (you can substitute red pepper flakes if you like, using about 2 tbsp)
- 10 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters or eighths depending on size or 1 large tomato diced
- 1 cup Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese diced into 1/2″ cubes (it would be great to make this, but it takes months)
- Small bunch fresh cilantro (unless you think cilantro tastes like soap)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (hope to post a recipe for sour cream soon)
- 1 small plastic bag
Here’s what you’ll do:
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Lay out the Scoops chips, all right side up, using only the unbroken chips.
- Spoon 3-5 black beans into each shell.
- Put 1-2 avocado squares into each shell.
- Spread the onion pieces evenly amongst the shells.
- Put one piece of tomato into each shell.
- Put one slice of jalapeno pepper or 4-5 pieces of red pepper flakes into each shell
- Put 1-2 pieces of cheese into each shell.
- Put the sour cream into a plastic bag, cut the tip off, and squeeze a dollop out onto the contents of each shell.
- Put one leaf of cilantro on top of each shell.
- Place in the oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted, and serve hot.
As you can see, the recipe is pretty flexible. You may not always have all of these ingredients, but so long as you have the scoops, the cheese, and a few of them you can usually pull off some version of the dish.
Another option is to make this in its “deconstructed” form, otherwise known as taco salad. This involves using normal tortilla chips, putting all of the ingredients in a bowl, microwaving it for a minute or two, and then stirring well. It’s not as important to use sour cream in this version, I find, since when you stir it the ingredients all smoosh together a bit and form a bit of a sauce.
However you enjoy ten tiny tacos, be sure to share the recipe!