Pro Tacos with Pineapple Pico de Gallo
Chef Kelvin Fernandez shares his Taco Tuesday recipe with Epicurious.
Epicurious' 4 Levels videos capture an amateur, home cook and professional ICE chef demonstrating their preparations of popular dishes. In this episode, Chef Kelvin Fernandez shares his take on tacos with a tender, marbled cut of beef, pineapple-heavy pico and masa tortillas. "If you're not making fresh tortillas, you're not doing it right," he teases.
Chef Kelvin elevates the typical taco with rib-eye rather than ground beef, layers of flavor and techniques he's honed for 12 years. For his signature pico and guac, he selects firm tomatoes, red onion for color contrast, pineapple for freshness and finely cut jalapeño, using a microplane for garlic and potato masher for a creamy guacamole texture. He pan sears the steak; bastes it with rosemary, thyme and butter for flavor and caramelization; then cubes the meat for his open-faced tacos.
Chef Kelvin advises a consistency like Play-Doh for corn flour dough, rolling each tortilla into the size of a golf ball and stacking them between a cloth and a plate so steam continues to cook them after each side is toasted in a skillet.
"The most important part is to taste," Chef Kelvin says while enjoying his fresh guacamole. "If it makes you dance, you did good." Watch the video for a demo and get the four-part recipe below.
Yields 12-16 tortillas
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1.5 cup warm water
- Mixing bowl
- Tortilla press
- Plastic wrap
- Plancha/flattop for cooking or induction burner with cast iron skillet
- Add 2 cups of masa carina and salt into the mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of warm water and stir until the water is absorbed. Add the rest of the water a little at a time until the flour melds into a dough. Use your hands to knead the dough into a ball. If the dough is sticking to your hands, add more flour until it drys out.
- Separate the dough into golf-ball-size chunks, which helps make the tortilla about 4 inches across.
- Flatten the dough using a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap.
- Heat a skillet to medium-high. Cook the tortilla for 40 seconds on each side.
- 1 large (14-18 ounces) bone-in rib-eye
- Kosher salt
- Maldon sea salt
- Fresh black peppercorns in pepper mill
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 ounces of butter
- 2 ounces vegetable or canola oil
- Half sheet pan
- Induction burner
- Cast iron skillet
- Spoon for basting
- Place rib-eye steak onto sheet pan and rub both sides with Kosher salt making sure to press the seasoning to the meat.
- To cook, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to the skillet and allow to heat up. Tilt your skillet from side to side to make sure that your skillet is well coated with the oil.
- Add your rib-eye steak to the oil and cook until the bottom of the rib-eye steak is brown and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Turn your rib-eye steak over and cook.
- Add butter and herbs, basting your rib-eye steak continuously with the butter and oil drippings from the skillet, until this side of the rib eye steak is also brown and caramelized, another 5 minutes or to your desired internal temperature for doneness.
- Remove your rib-eye steak from the heat and allow to rest on a carving board for another 5 minutes. Slice your steak with a sharp knife against the grain, then dice into small pieces for the taco, taking care to remove the bone. Set meat aside.
- 3 avocados, ripe
- 1/2 small onion, finely diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced and seeded
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 small stainless steel mixing bowls
- 1 potato masher
- 1 small plastic spatula
- 1 medium spoon
- In a medium bowl, mash the avocados. You can make this creamy or chunky depending on preference.
- Add the diced onion, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic and juice of the lime. Season with salt.
Pineapple Pico de Gallo
- 1/2 cup of pineapple, finely diced
- 1/2 cup of tomatoes, finely diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 jalapeño, finely diced
- 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper.
- Top each fresh, warm tortilla with cubed rib-eye, guacamole, pineapple pico de gallo and a cilantro garnish.
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