Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos
with Smoked Spanish Paprika-Lime Sauce
Makes: 2 Servings
Calories: About 700 Per Serving
Squash and spice are a match made in heaven. For these hearty, vegetarian tacos, we added smoked Spanish paprika to the batter and also used it in a tart, smoky dipping sauce. Paprika, though closely associated with cuisines the world over, is made from a chile plant native to the Americas. Peppers were brought back to Spain, flourished there and continued to develop. Today, their lightly spicy flavor is fine and nuanced. We love its smokiness, which complements the savory, slightly sweet flavor of these tempura tacos.
Tips & Techniques
Two Great Ways of Prepping an Avocado
Flavorful with a buttery, creamy texture, avocados are one of our favorite ingredients. Also called "alligator pears" for their rough-looking exteriors, these American natives are popular the world over. You'll find them in guacamole, sushi rolls, and even in some cultures as a dessert. Despite their appearance, avocados can be extremely easy to prep. Chef Matt Wadiak will show you two methods in this short video.
IngredientsPDF Download a PDF of this recipe
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut the lime into 6 wedges. Pit, peel and slice the avocado; top with the juice of 2 lime wedge over the avocado to prevent browning. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Peel and mince the garlic; smash with the side of your knife until it resembles a paste. Peel and very thinly slice the onion. Halve the squash; scoop out the seeds from the acorn squash; cut the squash lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick wedges.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste, mayonnaise, half the smoked paprika and the juice of 2 lime wedges. Stir until well combined; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place ¼ cup of the rice flour in a medium bowl. Add the squash slices and toss to thoroughly coat. Season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together ¾ cup of water, the remaining rice flour and remaining paprika to create a thin batter; season with salt and pepper. (As the batter stands, it may thicken. You may need to add up to an additional ¼ cup of water to maintain a thin consistency.)
In a large pan, heat a ¼-inch-thick layer of oil on medium-high until hot, but not smoking. (The oil is hot enough when a drop of batter sizzles immediately when added to the pan.) Working in batches, dip the coated squash in the batter (letting any excess drip off). Very carefully add the battered squash to the pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt.
Working in batches, warm the tortillas in a clean, dry pan on medium for 20 to 30 seconds per side, or until soft and pliable. To plate your dish, make 4 tacos with 2 tortillas layered together for each. Spread a layer of the paprika-lime sauce onto the bottom of each taco. Divide the tempura squash between the tacos. Top each with the avocado and red onion. Crumble the queso fresco over the top. Garnish with the cilantro and remaining lime wedges. Enjoy!