These are some of the prettiest tacos I have ever made. I mean, tacos usually don’t win many beauty contests. They’re incredibly tasty, but the filling is mostly…well, limp. Or mushy. So if you’re a person who eats as much with your eyes, these are right up your alley. Thankfully, they taste even better than they look.
I was originally intrigued by the concept of peas in guacamole, but in hindsight, it’s the most natural combination. It has the creaminess, perfectly bright green color, and adds a slightly more verdant taste to the mix. The paneer – now, that was an inspired moment. The original tacos in this recipe were fish (halibut to be exact), but halloumi cheese was suggested as a vegetarian substitute. My husband detests halloumi. In a way I’m not sure it’s possible to dislike a cheese. I did, however, have a block of paneer sitting in the fridge. And there was no looking back.
These tacos offer the perfect combo texturally, with the cherry tomatoes offering the perfect juicy burst to the grilled paneer and pea guacamole. I also added a little spicy roasted salsa from my local favorite Mexican restaurant. Start to finish, the meal came together in 20 minutes. Can you ask for much more on a Monday night?
Soft Tacos with Grilled Paneer and Pea Guacamole
Recipe adapted from Feast by Sarah Copeland
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 avocado, halved and pitted
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz paneer, cut into ½ inch thick slices
Oil for frying the paneer
8 whole wheat tortillas
Your favorite salsa for serving
Halve or quarter the tomatoes. Toss with the olive oil, garlic, and season with salt. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the remaining components.
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil. Add the peas and cook for a few minutes, until tender but still bright green. Drain the peas, and reserve about ¼ cup of the cooking water. Combine the peas, cooking water, cilantro, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you have a slightly chunky puree. Add the avocado and lime juice and pulse again until well combined. Taste for seasoning.
In a large skillet or nonstick pan, heat a thin layer of oil over medium high heat. Season the paneer slices with pepper on both sides, and fry for a couple of minutes on each side until lightly golden and crispy on the outside but still soft inside. Don’t fry too long, or the paneer will become rubbery.
Now assemble your tacos. Heat the tortillas for about 30 seconds over an open flame on your stovetop until lightly charred. Put two heaping spoonfuls of guacamole on the tortillas, followed by a few paneer pieces, and some of the marinated cherry tomatoes. Spoon over some salsa and enjoy.