I struggled with taco night as a kid. My tacos never stayed together after one bite and I almost always ended up eating with my fork…or my hands, oops. These tacos cut to the chase – no tortilla! Instead, cabbage provides a healthy crunch. Harissa, a middle eastern condiment, is amazing with the corn and avocado. Roasting corn is one of my favorite preparations – so easy and it imparts an amazing smoky flavor. Adapted from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food.


5 dried ancho chilies
1 red bell pepper
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt, to taste
2 ears corn, husked
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup parsley or cilantro, chopped
1/2 cabbage, chopped
2 avocados, sliced
2 chicken breasts (optional)
1/4 cup harissa
1/4 cup feta (optional)


Step 1
In an oven turned onto the highest temperature, toast the ancho chiles until fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Remove the seeds and stem, and put them in a small bowl filled with boiling water. Let this soak for about 20 minutes.

Step 2
Meanwhile roast the bell pepper over a flame until the skin is blistered. Make sure the skin is nearly all blistered – I made the mistake of only partially doing my own, which made my job lots harder in the end. Put the blistered bell pepper in a paper bag and let this sit for 5 minutes.

Step 3
Take that pepper and discard the stem, seeds, and skin. In a food processor, puree the chilis, pepper, garlic, olive oil and spices.

Step 4
Roast the ears of corn over a flame, charring them. Note that the corn will get a little violent and there will be loud popping noises – don’t be alarmed! All very normal.

Step 5
Once roasted, shave off the kernels.

Step 6
In a saute pan over medium heat, add half the olive oil and onion. Cook the onion for around 10 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Add the garlic, for about 1 minute, then the corn, for about 5 minutes. Season with lime juice, salt, and chili powder to taste.

Step 7
Take corn mixture off the heat and stir in chopped herbs.

Step 8
(Optional) While the corn is cooking, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Over medium high heat, add the remaining olive oil and cook the chicken, about 4 minutes on each side.

Step 9
Serve chicken, corn and harissa with cabbage, avocados and feta.