At the time I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, I was working for Marion Cunningham, the proverbial fairy godmother of home cooking. She wrote the current edition of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, along with a slew of other books. She was the best home cook I’ve ever met.

Among the major perks of the job was being on the receiving end of the lunch Marion made each day. No matter how busy we were, she would take time to cook a meal. This wasn’t the “shove down a tuna sandwich while standing at the sink” sort of lunch, it was an immensely civilized affair that involved a properly set table and food you might expect to be served for Sunday supper: Roast chicken with all the sides, a beef and vegetable stew, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. And there was always dessert, everything from apple pie to warm brownies crowned with vanilla ice cream. Considering my daughter’s diet in utero, it’s no wonder has always been so healthy.

One day at lunch time, Marion was in the kitchen making what appeared to be rather ordinary quesadillas. Having grown accustomed to my mid-day feast, I was a little disappointed. But one bite in and I was a convert. There was nothing ordinary about anything Marion cooked, least of all these tacos.The crispy corn tortilla, creamy avocado, and crunchy lettuce make a winning triumvirate worthy of any dinner table. Plus, all can be pulled together in under 15 minutes, which makes it perfect for a weeknight supper.

Crisp lettuce is a must here; save your arugula and spinach for other meals. Marion used iceberg, of which she was quite fond. I opt for the crunchiest, light green leaves from a head of Romaine, a variety which offers vitamin C, fiber and other nourishment, where the iceberg does not. Sharp Cheddar is my cheese of choice, but feel free to substitute a milder version or Monterey Jack. Avocados add “healthy” fats to these tacos and help make them nourishing and satisfying. Your kids won’t be looking to snack the minute they’re down the hatch.

If you appreciate a good taco, you might like these Slow Cooker Indian Tacos as well.

Crispy Avocado Tacos

Yield: 4 servings

Crispy Avocado Tacos

A couple of these tacos and a simple side dish --  black beans, corn on the cobb, a shredded cabbage salad, a simple plate of raw veggies -- and you have a meal.  An icy cold Mexican beer with a slice of lime makes a fine, "adults only" side as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 loosely packed cups)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Favorite salsa, taco sauce, or sriracha
  • 2 ripe avocados, sliced
  • Salt
  • 8 crunchy, light-green leaves of Romaine
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Set a large skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. While the pan is heating, sprinkle the cheese over the tortillas, covering the entire surface.
  2. When the pan is hot, lay the tortillas in the pan (as many as can fit without overlapping) and cook until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy and dotted with brown patches. Transfer to a serving platter.
  3. Top the tortillas with 1 to 2 teaspoons of salsa or a drizzle of taco sauce. Divide the avocado slices among the tortillas, laying them across the center. Add a small pinch of salt to the avocado. Tear each Romaine leaf in half and set it on top of the avocado. Fold and serve with lime wedges.

Crispy Avocado Tacos / Mom's Kitchen Handbook