You need to make these pastrami tacos for dinner tonight

Pastrami tacos made with blue-corn tortillas.
Pastrami tacos made with blue-corn tortillas.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times )

It’s not hard to find a great taco in Los Angeles. Just ask our restaurant critic Jonathan Gold. But what if you wanted to fix some great tacos at home, tonight, for dinner? 

You have to try these pastrami tacos from chef John Sedlar.

Crisp fried blue-corn tortilla shells are piled high with sliced pastrami, sauerkraut and a drizzle of ballpark mustard, and then garnished with pickled jalapeno slices. Find a great pastrami source -- we bought ours from Wexler’s Deli in the downtown Grand Central Market for the photo above -- and you’re well on your way to a magical meal.

Granted, these may not be the most “traditional” of tacos, but that’s just fine. And why shouldn’t we combine some of our favorite foods in an inspired taco mashup? According to Sedlar, “Feel free to go unconventional and global with your taco fillings. You could just as easily fill them with Philly cheesesteak, Southern pulled pork, French duck confit or Indian tandoori chicken.” That all sounds good to us.



Total time: 40 minutes | Serves 6

Vegetable oil for deep-frying
6 thin 6-inch blue-corn (or yellow-corn) tortillas
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
18 ounces generously fatty pastrami, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
6 teaspoons ballpark mustard
18 slices pickled jalapeno chiles, well drained
6 small, delicate sprigs fresh dill

1. In a deep, heavy pot or automatic electric deep-fryer, heat about 4 inches of oil to a temperature of 375 degrees. Fry the shells, gently curving them to form a hard taco shape (dip one half of the shell in the oil to firm using one set of tongs, then slowly add the remaining half using a second set of tongs, curving the shell as it fries to form the shape). Remove from the oil, carefully shaking off excess oil, and transfer to paper towels to drain.


2. Heat a large nonreactive sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl it to coat the bottom of the pan. Evenly distribute the pastrami slices and cook them, turning occasionally with tongs, until their fat begins to render and the meat begins to brown slightly, about 2 minutes. Then push the meat to one side of the pan and spread the sauerkraut in the other side, stirring it occasionally until heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

3. With the back of a teaspoon, smear the mustard inside the taco shells, taking care not to break them.

4. Evenly distribute the sauerkraut among the taco shells. Evenly spread the pastrami on top. Garnish with 3 pickled jalapeño slices per taco, and top each filling with a dill sprig. Serve immediately.

Each serving: Calories 255; Protein 20 grams; Carbohydrates 13 grams; Fiber 3 grams; Fat 13 grams; Saturated fat 3 grams; Cholesterol 58 mg; Sugar 1 gram; Sodium 1,219 mg.

Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter


7 great chili recipes to warm you up

8 quick and easy fish and shellfish recipes


6 coffeecake recipes that give you a reason to wake up in the morning

Eat your way across L.A.

Get our weekly Tasting Notes newsletter for reviews, news and more from critics Bill Addison and Patricia Escárcega.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.