Mainstream America is smitten with the taco. So much, in fact, that the repertoire of tacos Americans now take for granted is expanding beyond where a lot of us ever thought we’d be, back in the days of crisp shells and spiced hamburger. In San Francisco, a restaurateur has launched a tiny chain called Uno Dos Tacos, dedicated to a very easygoing style of taco diversity. The chef, Luis Flores, grew up in Guadalajara. His taco vegetariano is miles away from the random collection of nonmeat stuff a lot of low-end vegetarian food is. It has five main elements: summer squash, cremini mushrooms, poblano peppers, mustard greens, and onion, but it’s not so much what, in Flores’s taco, it’s how. High-temperature searing on a comal or in a heavy skillet is key: The exterior of the vegetables blisters and softens, while the interior keeps its integrity. A squeeze of lime, some crumbled Cotija cheese, a spoonful of pico de gallo—it’s all these tacos need to be distinctive.
Uno Dos Tacos’ Veggie Tacos
Makes 8 tacos
2 poblano peppers
2 medium yellow squash
1 small white onion
10 medium cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 handful mizuna (Japanese mustard greens) or other leafy green like spinach
8 corn tortillas
8 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Pico de Gallo salsa
Step 1: Slice the poblanos, squash, onion, and mushrooms into 1/4-inch pieces. Combine in a bowl.
Step 2: Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
Step 3: Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet to medium. Place the peppers, squash, onion, and mushrooms in the pan in a single layer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly charred, about 8 minutes.
Step 4: Add the greens and wilt, about 2 minutes.
Step 5: Increase the heat to high until the griddle or skillet is hot, about 3 minutes. Place a tortilla in the dry pan and heat, flipping once, until warmed on both sides. Wrap the tortilla in a clean dishtowel to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Step 6: To serve, fill a warm tortilla with vegetables and top with cheese, salsa, and a squeeze of lime.
Photos by Chris Rochelle