This is the taco recipe that made me stop hating tacos, finally. I blitzed up all my leftover cilantro stems, garlic cloves, jalapeños, salt, sugar, and a generous glug of olive oil, and marinated a couple pounds of cut-up, boneless chicken thighs in this herby liqueur. I roasted the chicken in a hot oven, warmed up a soft flour tortilla in the green chicken fat, topped it off with some leftover watermelon I had magicked into a spicy salsa—all doused in hot sauce—and, as Nigella Lawson says, "applied to face." I stood by my stove that day and ate one taco at a time, made a ritual out of the assembly. —Eric Kim
boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces (I usually just quarter each thigh)
small, soft flour tortillas
lime, cut into wedges, for serving
For the salsa
watermelon, finely diced
red onion, finely diced
large jalapeño, thinly sliced into rings
cilantro leaves, finely chopped
freshly cracked black pepper
In This Recipe
In a food processor or blender, blitz the jalapeños, garlic, cilantro stems, olive oil, salt, sugar, and pepper and toss with the halved chicken thighs. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
Drain the chicken in a colander to get rid of excess marinade, then lay on a sheet pan and roast at 400° F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through.
Meanwhile, stir together the watermelon, red onion, lime juice, jalapeño, cilantro, salt, and pepper and set aside. That's your salsa.
When you're ready to taco up, heat up the tortillas in a dry pan. Top each with some chicken and salsa, and serve with the lime wedges.
Eric Kim is a Senior Editor at Food52, where his weekly solo dining column, Table for One, runs every Friday morning. Formerly the Digital Manager at Food Network, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.