Expert Tips For Making Restaurant-Worthy Tacos

street tacos with lime
street tacos with lime - Rez-art/Getty Images

Tacos are one of those foods that everyone loves (we have taco night for a reason). Even still, tacos at home aren't nearly as universally delicious as the ones you get from a restaurant. What is it that makes a taco restaurant quality? Rich Garcia, the culinary director at Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar knows the answer to this. Rocco's Tacos serves Mexican food in locations throughout Florida, making guacamole tableside, serving homemade tortillas, and offering 200 different types of tequila. Of course, you'd be missing out if you didn't try one of Rocco's Tacos namesake tacos.

There are plenty of mistakes everyone makes when making tacos, but it starts by using the wrong ingredients. Garcia's primary advice to home cooks who want to achieve restaurant-level quality in their kitchen is to "use the best quality ingredients." This means skip the canned beans and jarred salsa, and instead opt for fresh ingredients and making things from scratch. It may be the long route, but it's the best route for a good taco.

As a plus, Garcia emphasizes the importance of a squeeze of fresh lime juice because it "always wakes the taste buds." Lime introduces acidity and zing when making homemade salsa, and there's no need to stop there when you can add a fresh squeeze on top of the whole taco to balance out the savory meats and fillings.

Read more: 16 Little-Known Facts About Salt

Homemade Tortillas Are Key

fresh tortillas in a basket
fresh tortillas in a basket - Santiago Castillo Chomel/Shutterstock

Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar makes their corn tortillas in-house on a traditional comal, a flat griddle used for cooking tortillas. Rich Garcia wouldn't have it any other way, as he sees tortillas as a make-it-or-break-it factor in a taco. More than anything else, Garcia thinks that when making tacos at home, the "biggest mistake is not making your own tortillas; corn or flour." Homemade tortillas align with his "best quality ingredients" philosophy. Store-bought tortillas have the functionality but have a distinctly dry and flat taste that reflects their lack of freshness. A homemade tortilla will taste miles better than one from the store.

Fresh tortillas aren't as difficult to make as you might imagine. As Garcia explains, tortillas are "very simple to do with minimal ingredients and equipment." A corn tortilla recipe has as little as three ingredients, the most important of which is masa harina, a special corn flour made from corn soaked in lime water. Adding warm water and salt to masa harina is all it takes to make masa, the dough of corn tortillas. Flour tortillas are similarly simple, and it is up to personal preference which ones you make for your tacos -- but Garcia opts for corn. Its earthiness and natural sweetness create the perfect base for a restaurant-worthy taco.

Read the original article on Mashed