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Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Salsa

These satisfying vegetarian tacos are seasoned with fennel seeds, which lend the anise-like taste of the avocado leaves used to flavor beans in Mexico. If you like, make a double batch of the salsa and serve it with chips to start off the meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, halved, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and finely diced
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 ear of corn, kernels removed
  • 8 to 12 corn tortillas, each 6 inches in diameter
  • 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds or anise seeds  
  • 2 cans (each 15 oz.) black beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • Crumbled feta cheese for serving

Directions:

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the onion, the tomatoes, chili, cilantro and lime juice. Gently stir in the avocado. Season the salsa with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the bell pepper, season with salt and pepper and sauté until they begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the corn kernels, reduce the heat to medium and sauté until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Toast the tortillas over a gas flame or on a griddle just until they give off the fragrance of toasted corn, about 20 seconds per side; then wrap the tortillas in foil to keep warm.

In the same fry pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the remaining onion and the fennel seeds and sauté until the onion is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the beans by very large spoonfuls, mashing and stirring each addition before adding the next. Thin the bean mixture with the reserved liquid to form a coarse, thick puree. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the salsa, bell pepper mixture, bean mixture, cheese, tortillas and lime wedges on the table, allowing diners to assemble their own tacos. Serves 4.

Quick tips: The sautéed vegetables and black beans can be made 1 day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Warm the beans over medium heat, thinning them with water as needed, and stir the vegetables in a fry pan over medium heat to warm through. The black beans also are great with chips, so make extra and serve as a starter another night.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2011).