Open tacos with roasted butternut squash, stilton and a red onion, radish and coriander salad

Please, please, please try to make these as I promise they taste amazing, despite the unusual combination of ingredients. The textures go a long way to make the dish what it is; the crunch of the radishes, the smoothness of the stilton and the texture of the fried tortilla that I haven’t yet figured out how to describe, but is astonishingly good. Textures can only go so far though in making the dish what it is. The real thrill of the dish are the little pockets of flavours that burst in your mouth all at once, but somehow one at a time too; the zingy freshness of the coriander, macerated onions and lime, the hot pepperiness of the radishes, the saltiness of the cheese and the smooth, sweet, almost caramel-like flavour of the squash, not to mention the almost bisuitiness of the fried tortilla. I agree that it isn’t your avergare use for stilton, but this misfit ingredient becomes essential in order to successfully balance the flavours and textures of the dish.

If your tortillas are quite small like mine were then these open tacos should serve 4 as a starter. However, some that you buy in the supermarkets are massive so, to serve 4 still, I’d probably cut them down a bit; you could just cut them in half but I like them to be round.

Open tacos

The ingredients:

Plain flour tortillas – 4
Butternut Squash – 1
Stilton* – approx 250g
Red onions – 1 large or 2 small
Fresh coriander – 1 medium sized bunch
Radishes – 1 bunch or bag (about 20)
Red wine vinegar – a couple of good glugs
Juice of 1 or 2 limes
Oil** for shallow frying – 3 or 4 good glugs

* Use San Ignacio Blue (if you can get it) instead of the Stilton, or any other blue cheese that you fancy trying. Considering this recipe was one hell of an experiment anyway, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in experimenting a little further!

** Sunflower, vegetable, groundnut or other; just make sure it’s fairly flavourless.

The recipe:

  • First slice your onions as finely as you can, place them in a dish and cover with the vinegar and juice of one of the limes. Set to one side.
  • Next peel your squash and scoop out the seeds.
  • Chop the flesh of the squash into small cubes, place on a baking tray and sparingly drizzle with a little of the oil. Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 180°C/Gas 4 until it begins to caramelise and is the colour of burnished gold.
  • Menawhile, top, tail and quarter your radishes (they should be roughly the same size as your squash cubes), chop your coriander.
  • Once your sqaush has roasted, mix your coriander and radishes with the now macerated onions (juice and all) to form the salad.
  • Heat the remaining oil over a fairly high heat, do the breadcrumb test (the oil is ready when the breadcrumb sizzles) and fry your tortillas (one at a time). Each one should only need a few seconds on each side, and should puff up slightly and go golden.
  • As each tortilla is ready you should sit it on kitchen paper (and turn a few times) to drain any excess oil.
  • Finally, build your open taco: a dessert spoonful of squash, followed by a handful of crumbled stilton, and then the salad on top.
  • Quarter the other lime and serve a wedge on each plate in case anyone, like me, particularly enjoys the extra zestiness.

Tip: 

Don’t try to make these in advance, they are best served immediately otherwise they’ll go soggy.

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