I go insane over broccoli. If I had to chose one only food to eat everyday, you guessed it: broccoli! Boil it, bake it, roast it, grill it, steam it, fry it, pie it – any which way, it is the best vegetable. And as a cruciferous vegetable, it’s also anti-carcinogenic. Not a bad thing considering I live directly over the plume!
While having a romantic dinner with my wife (wondering what that means? read here.) at No. 7, the restaurant in Fort Greene from the same owners as No. 7 Sub on Manhattan Ave, we ordered an exclusively vegetarian meal. This is very unlike us. When Julie returned from the dark side of being a vegetarian, we celebrated with a Sausage Party, and it’s been dirty jokes and meaty dinners ever since. But sometimes the vegetarian options will surprise you, and they are often overlooked because you think, I’m out, I might as well eat meat! If you want a lighter meal, go veggie; you will certainly leave feeling less stuffed.
The Double Decker Broccoli Taco we ate was amazing, so I had to try it at home. It is basically the healthy vegetarian version of a Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell. (Don’t act like you don’t dream about it!) But with the braco, a hard taco is stuffed with feta cheese and broccoli, around which a black bean smeared soft taco is wrapped, then the whole thing is topped with pine nuts and hot sauce! Not only are the flavors happily married but the texture of the soft taco spooning the hard taco is quite a fiesta in your mouth.
Bracos are easy to make. While there are a few steps, they are easy steps. And worth it!
Use canned black beans or soak about a cup of beans overnight, then boil them until soft. Once soft stir fry them with chopped onions and garlic, cumin, bay leaf, salt and pepper. (If you want to get frisky, add some bacon fat.) Add water or vegetable stock and continue to reduce until they are mushy, then mash them into a paste. An immersion blender works perfectly, too.
Optional: toast your pine nuts.
Steam a head of broccoli, then mash it with a few cloves of fresh minced garlic, grated parmesan cheese, red chili flakes, butter and salt and pepper.
Unless you can find hard tacos, get some good soft corn tortillas and fry them in vegetable oil until they are crispy. We picked up a bag of tortillas for $1 over in Bushwick at Tortilleria Mexicanos Los Hermanos (271 Starr St.) And I kind of wished I stayed and had lunch there.
Now it’s Braco Time! Stuff feta into the hard taco. Over that stuff the mashed broccoli. Top it with pine nuts. On a soft taco, smear the black bean paste and wrap it around the soft taco.
This makes about 6-8 tacos, and they are really filling!