If you haven’t been to TacocaT at The Exchange in Linwood, you should certainly change that immediately. This Cal-Mex restaurant has quickly earned a reputation for serving up some of the tastiest tacos, quesadillas and burritos in South Jersey, making use of unique ingredients such as charred pineapple and lime crema, which perfectly compliment whatever protein you choose. They also have some outrageous churro-themed desserts that must be tasted to be believed.
TacocaT is currently open for takeout, which means you can enjoy their spicy goodness throughout the current crisis. Chef/owner Mike Talley is our focus for this week’s Quarantine Cuisine.
A.C. Weekly: What kinds of dishes do you tend to make when you are cooking at home?
Mike Talley: We mainly lean toward comfort food, but often bring out an array of appetizers like cheeses, meats or maybe some kind of shrimp.
ACW: How has business been at TacocaT during the coronavirus situation?
MT: At TacocaT, we have tried to (adapt to the) changes during this crazy time. The biggest change is that the normal lunch hour has disappeared and people are eating at all hours of the day. Families are together, ordering large orders and adding some churros for their sweet tooth.
ACW: What are the most important rules to follow for a great home-cooked meal?
MT: The most important rule is to have everything ready to go — or in culinary terms, your ‘Mise en place.’ It’s important to have everything ready so you can enjoy your time with family and friends instead of slaving in the kitchen while everyone is gathering.
And although he has made a name for himself slinging top-shelf tacos, Talley doesn’t just stick to Mexican-inspired favorites when he is cooking at home. Today he gives us the secrets behind one of his favorite homemade dishes – Pan-seared salmon with bourbon BBQ sauce and truffle-Parmesan roasted Brussels sprouts.
“I picked this recipe because it’s something that is quick and easy,” Talley says.
“I would make this for my kids, and my step daughter loved it when she was younger. So I taught her how to prepare it, and now she makes it all the time.”
Mike Talley’s Pan-seared salmon with bourbon BBQ sauce and truffle-Parmesan roasted Brussels sprouts
· 8-ounce skinless salmon filet
· 3 Tbsp Cajun spice
· 3 Tbsp olive oil
· 1 Tbsp olive oil
· 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
· 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
· 1 Tbsp garlic, chopped
· 2 Tbsp bourbon
· 2 Tbsp brown sugar
· 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
· 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
· ½ cup BBQ sauce
· Dash of Worcestershire sauce
· Dash of hot sauce
Truffle-Parmesan Brussels sprouts
· 1 pound whole Brussels sprouts
· 2 Tbsp of olive oil
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 1 Tbsp truffle oil
· 2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
For BBQ Sauce
· Add olive oil to a small saucepan
· Add onion and garlic and sauté for 1 minute
· Add bourbon with pan off the flame
· When bourbon comes to a boil, add remaining ingredients
· Simmer sauce for 5 minutes
· Place in blender and blend until smooth
For the salmon
· Heat oven to 400 degrees
· Season salmon with Cajun spice only on the flesh side
· Put a sauté pan on the range and heat up for 3 minutes
· Add oil
· Add salmon, flesh side down and blacken salmon for 2 minutes
· Flip salmon and put into oven to cook for 6 minutes
· Remove from oven and brush on BBQ sauce
· Place in oven for an additional 2 minutes for the BBQ sauce to caramelize
· Take out of oven and let rest for 5 minutes
For Brussels sprouts
· Heat oven to 400 degrees
· Season Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt and pepper
· Place sprouts in the oven on a sheet pan and roast for 40 minutes or until crispy, moving them around in the pan every 10 minutes
· After the sprouts are done, place in a bowl and toss in the truffle oil, cheese and some salt