I live in Tribeca, now famous and trendy. I moved here 26 years ago when it was gritty and isolated. I could walk out at 10PM and be the only person on the street.
Life does change and my neighborhood most definitely has. If you wander out at 2AM the streets here are still peopled with folks moving bar to bar. In the daytime, every block has at least three strollers. Tribeca is popular and populated. It’s now much more an integrated part of Manhattan, an island of towers and wealth.
Increasingly, to find reality — or what I perceive to be real and homey — I turn to Brooklyn. Sprawling, densely populated and home to hundreds of ethnic groups. Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn has a Mexican neighborhood that stretches for miles and offers little stores with big surprises.
If you think Taco Bell is what Mexican food is about, then Tacos Matamoros, 4805 5th Avenue, is going to make you stop, wonder, think, and hopefully taste. When the menu offers you a tripe taco, you may be in Brooklyn but you are really close to Mexico. That picture? It’s the chorizo taco. Red sausage, offering spice but not too spicy, and topped with ultimately smooth guacamole. All wrapped up in a double thick soft shell. I cannot recommend this lovely spot more. Yes, I did chicken out on the tripe taco, but, really, it was brave to go with chorizo.
If you want reality with agua fresca instead of designer margaritas, then enjoy this little taco pitstop. And do wander the blocks of 5th Avenue in Brooklyn for a glimpse of Mexican culture you cannot find in Manhattan. The Dodgers may have long fled Brooklyn, but there are many reasons for you to return for a day, a night, or perhaps a chunk of your lifetime.
“I’m not sure about this,” I said.
“About what?” Suzen asked
“Well, Passover is coming and I found this chicken live recipe and …”
“Oh, good. Let me see.”
I showed it to her. She put it down and looked at me. Her face was a torrent: perplexed, puzzled and still curious.
“Okay,” Suzen said softly. “I’m in.”
“Can we have salsa?” I asked.
“Only if it is kosher.”
Chopped Liver Tacos
Yield: 12 tacos
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 pound white onions thinly sliced into half moons
- 2 fresh Serrano or jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced lengthwise [including seeds]
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound chicken livers, cut into lobes and trimmed of any tough white parts
- Freshly ground black powder
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions, chiles, and ½ teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and browned at the edges, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl .
*Generously season the livers on both sides with salt (about ½ teaspoon) and pepper, if you’d like. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same large pan over high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, cook the livers until they’re nicely browned on both sides and just barely pink in the center, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer them to the bowl with the onions as they’re done.
Add the contents of the bowl back to the hot pan and cook, stirring frequently and mashing a little, for a minute or two. Add the lime juice and season to taste with salt.
Serve in warm corn tortillas with finely chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, and the salsa of your choice. The author recommends tomatillo-based salsas. You can search our blog here for recipes.
Source: Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales by Roberto Santibanez