Cinco de Mayo Recipes: Tacos for One and All

For this year’s fiesta, try these taco recipes that range from crowd-pleasing favorites to more daring fare.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo is all about tequila, friends and, of course, food. Skip those frozen, store-bought taquitos and instead try these exciting taco recipes that run the gamut from mild to wild from the talented crews over at Rosa Mexicano and Dos Equis. If alligator or snail tacos aren’t your thing, go with the more traditional pollo or fish tacos. No matter your audience, this variety and range of ingredients and flavor combinations will leave everyone going back for more (so be prepared). And when diving into the kitchen for this holiday especial don’t forget that everything tastes better with a good cocktail.

The Perfect Tacos for the Cinco de Mayo Rookies:

The Classic Pollo Taco with a Twist

Ingredients:

16 oz. chicken3 cups marinade*8 oz. sweet plantains, diced1 cup chile de arbol salsa*½ cup crème fraiche12 mint leaves12 tortillas

*For marinade:

Achiote paste (optional)1 garlic clove2 tsp oregano2 tsp allspice2 tsp cumin seeds2 cups orange juice1 cup white vinegarSalt to taste

*For salsa:

2 oz. Chile de arbol2 tomatillos1 clove garlic, peeled2 tbsp. waterSalt to taste

Directions:

Blend all ingredients for the marinade in a blender until smooth. Pour marinade over chicken and refrigerate overnight. To make the salsa, toast the chiles until the oils and aromas are released. Do not burn or brown. Roast tomatillos and garlic until soft. Blend all until smooth, and add water and salt to taste. Bake chicken at 350 for 30 minutes. Once the meat is done, cut into chunks and sauté in juice from the pan until glazed and hot. Do not brown. To assemble taco place crème fraiche, salsa, chicken, and plantains in a tortilla. Garnish with mint leaf.

The Fan-Favorite Fish Taco

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Ingredients:

3 filets fresh fish, try Snapper or Tilapia3 cups tempura batter*2 cups panko crumbs1 cup vegetable oil3 cups red cabbage escabeche*1 cup jalapeño tartar sauce*1 bunch whole cilantro leaves12 lime wedges for garnish12 tortillas

*For tempura batter:

2 cups all-purpose flour1 tsp baking soda1 tbsp salt1 12-oz Dos Equis beer½ cup water½ cup seltzer water

*For red cabbage escabeche:

1 jalapeño pepper, julienned½-lb purple cabbage, julienned2 jumbo carrots, julienned1 tbsp parsley, chopped1 cup cider vinegar1 tbsp sugarSalt

For tartar sauce:

1 cup mayo1 jalapeño, diced1 white onion diced

Directions:

To make the escabeche seed and julienne jalapeño, cabbage, and carrots. Place all in a mixing bowl and add wet ingredients. Mix well. Add sugar and salt to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hrs. For tartar sauce combine diced onions and jalapenos with mayo and mix well. Add salt to taste. For batter combine all dry ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk in wet ingredients slowly. To cook the fish lightly coat each fish portion in tempura batter. Lightly coat with bread crumbs. Fry in a pan with oil until golden brown. Remove fish and place on a paper towel. Season with salt while hot. To assemble taco place escabeche, fish and tartar sauce in a tortilla and garnish with cilantro and lime.

Exotic Tacos for the Adventuresome Eater:

Good ‘ol Fried Alligator with Chipotle Sauce

Ingredients:

2 oz. buttermilk1 oz. hot sauce2 oz. alligator meat, cubed1 cup vegetable oil1 cup flour1 cup cornmeal1 tsp chili powderChipotle sauce*Pico de gallo*Chopped lettuceSour creamCorn tortillasSalt and pepper to taste

For chipotle sauce:

4 lrg tomatoes, roasted1 small onion2 chipotle peppers4 garlic cloves½ bunch cilantro1 limeSalt and pepper to taste

For pico de gallo:

2 tomatoes, diced¼ red onion, diced½ small jalapeño2 oz cilantro, finely chopped1 limeSalt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine buttermilk and hot sauce and add alligator. Marinade for 2-3 hrs. For pico de gallo mix all ingredients and set aside for 20 mins. For chipotle sauce combine first five ingredients in large pot and bring to a slight boil for 5 mins. Puree mixture in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and finish with lime juice. When it’s time for guests mix flour, cornmeal, chili powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Coat meat with mixture, then fry in 350 degree oil for 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towel. Heat tortillas. Place meat on tortillas and add lettuce, chipotle sauce, pico de gallo and sour cream.

The Bizarre yet Delicious Snail, Shallot and Truffle Taco

Ingredients:

2 oz. huitlacoche (corn fungus!)1 lb snails1 whole head of garlic, peeled and chopped3 oz butter4 tbsp shallots, chopped2 shallots, whole1 tbsp aniseed1 lemon1 tbsp cayenne¼ cup parsley, choppedSalt and pepper to taste6 tbsp flour4 tbsp cornstarch1 cup vegetable oil4 tbsp cream2 tbsp chopped epazote12 white flour tortillasTruffle oil to taste

Directions:

Wash and clean huitlacoche then chop. Add half the garlic, half the butter, and 1 oz shallots to a frying pan and sauté until huitlacoche is tender. Set aside. Wash snails and sauté in remaining butter and garlic, 1 oz shallots, aniseed, lemon, cayenne and parsley until brown. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside. Slice 2 raw shallots into small rings. Combine 1 tbsp slt, 1 tbsp pepper, flour and cornstarch. Dredge shallots in mixture. Fry in oil until crispy and drain on paper towel. Remove snails and huitlacoche from their respective sauces and set aside in separate bowls. Combine the sauces in a pan. Add cream and cook until thick. Remove pan from the heat, add snails and huitlacoche, and toss until coated with sauce. Serve on warm white flour tortillas, topped with chopped epazote and crispy shallots. Drizzle truffle oil to taste.