Crispy Pork Tacos and Corn Salad

Crispy Pork Tacos & Corn Salad

By Claire Gallo

"As you can probably tell by now, I love to cook"

Whenever we have friends or family over I really enjoy preparing something for them to eat. That’s how it’s always been in my family. If you have people in the house, you feed them. No questions asked. I love to hear the extra voices in the kitchen as we catch up. When I know company is coming, I try to get as much done before they arrive. This will ensure that I am not running around the kitchen like a crazy lady. One of my favorite ways to cook is to use the slow cooker. I can plug in my meal and walk away, which allows me to work on other things, like tidying up the house. Last week, I made crispy pork carnitas tacos for some friends coming over. I love this recipe because it cooks all day and develops these intense flavors.  Before you are ready to serve, crisp the shredded pork for a few minutes on a skillet. That crispy texture adds a whole new dimension to your tacos.

"When you are having company over taco night, you have your tacos, chips and salsa. I like to have one more side dish on the table"

I usually try to make something different. The answer is my Grilled Corn Salad. This is one of my favorite summer salads for many reasons. First, it’s delicious. You can add other flavors and textures to it. I like to add radish for a little peppery crunch and queso fresco cheese (found in many supermarkets) to add a savory element. Second, I like how I can serve this dish. Sure, I could put it in a giant serving bowl in the middle of the table, or I can scoop some into individual serving cups for my guests to quickly grab and eat more easily. I like to use 10 oz. plastic tumblers but any cup will do, just make sure it’s wide enough for a fork. The third and final reason I love this salad is because it allows me to eat corn off the cob. I don’t know about you, but I look completely awful eating corn on the cob. My nose gets scrunched up and I look like an absolute mess. Not to mention I get corn on my face and in my teeth. I always apologize to the person across from me.  You may be asking, how do I know that I look like this when eating corn on the cob? I know this because my husband, my soulmate, the person whom I have hitched my wagon to, secretly recorded me on his phone and then showed me the footage. So for this salad, corn off the cob is the perfect answer. So let’s get to the recipe.

Crispy Pork Carnitas Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Total Time: 4.5 Hours (includes slow cooking time)

1 pork tenderloin (about 1.5 lbs.)

Salt and Pepper

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp. grated orange rind

3 tbsp. fresh orange juice

3 sprigs thyme, chopped

2 tbsp. of vegetable oil plus 1 tbsp. divided

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. tomato paste

Salt and pepper the pork tenderloin and place in a slow cooker. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour over the tenderloin. Slow cook the pork on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. After slow cooking, remove pork from and let it sit for 15 minutes to cool. While the pork is cooling, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. vegetable oil. Shred pork with 2 forks and place the shredded pieces in a single layer in the skillet cook for 2 minutes or until a crust forms. Turn once and cook another 2 minutes. You may have to repeat this until all the pork is crisp. Serve with your favorite tortillas and taco toppings.


Grilled Corn Salad

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4-6

3 ears corn, shucked

4 sliced radishes, julienned

1 red bell pepper chopped

½ jalapeño pepper, minced

¾ cup queso fresco, crumbled

1 cup Greek yogurt

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. ground cumin

3 tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Char the corn on a grill. Turn occasionally until blackened and blistered about 4 minutes each side. Let it cool and cut the kernels off the cob and into a large bowl. Add radish, red pepper, and jalapeño pepper. Toss with corn. Mix in queso fresco. Salt and Pepper to taste. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Add one spoonful of yogurt mixture to the bottom of each glass. Add 2 spoonfuls of corn mixture to fill glass. Top with remaining yogurt mixture.

Like I said, this recipe is the perfect dish to serve if you have company. It’s colorful, healthy, and delicious. The crispiness and crunch of the pork adds a different texture your guests won’t be expecting. The freshness and color of the roasted corn salad will have them talking for days. Not to mention taking the corn off the cob and scooping into individual cups makes it so much easier to eat. Enjoy the recipe, friends.


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