Mexican food is appealing on pretty much every level: the freshness, the spice-boosted taste, the bright colours and, of course, those very shareable sides. That makes it a logical choice for any day of the week – and while taco Tuesday is always a good choice, there are plenty more dishes on offer to throw into the mix.
If you find yourself throwing a little midweek fiesta, here are some essentials you’ll want to have on hand.
Starters and share plates to lead into the main event
Before you serve any mains, make the most of classic Mexican sides. That means breaking out your absolute best guac recipe, with some killer salsa to match. There really is no better icebreaker than conversation had over a bowl of chips and guac. Refried beans and black beans both make good dip options, and a salsa fresca – with lots of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, coriander, red onion and pickled red cabbage – won’t go astray. Same with sliced avocado – set some aside before it all goes into the guac. And there’s no such thing as too many lemon or lime wedges.
Fusion-friendly combinations to bridge cuisines
There’s no need to try to be strictly authentic, especially when approaching the cuisine as an outsider. Old El Paso’s new fusion kit, Teriyaki Meets Tacos brings a soy-driven sharpness and sweetness. It’s the meeting point between Japanese and Mexican takeaway, but prepared at home. And the best part is that the flavours and tortillas are included already – all you need to supply is your choice of protein and veggies.
A warm, celebratory soundtrack
There’s so much room to play when choosing the music for a dinner party – particularly a themed one. Mariachi is an obvious choice for your Mexican feast. LA punk band the Bronx’s Mariachi El Bronx guise is fun, or Melbourne’s own Queen of Hearts does mariachi covers of Aussie pub standards by AC/DC, Divinyls and more. Accordions lend a lively punch to “musica Mexicana”, an umbrella term for Mexican music that includes subgenres like rancheras (think traditional country and folk) and brass-driven banda. As with its cuisine, the country’s musical offerings vary dramatically by region and era.
Colourful (and comprehensive) table settings
From decor to tableware, go for vibrant colours and share-friendly vibes. Brightly hued tablecloths and napkins add another brilliant splash for the eye. Plenty of cute small plates are key for citrus and coriander, as well as assorted tongs for other shareable bits. A variety of shredded or melted cheeses provide a perfect opportunity to show off a set of matching bowls. And your hot sauces can only heighten the theme – the Old El Paso Hot Taco Sauce will go down a treat with the other accompanying bright colours on the table.
Drinks that everyone can enjoy
Midweek hangs are more low-key by nature, so it’s probably best to go for a non-alcoholic Margarita. Just combine orange, lemon and lime juice with soda water and agave nectar (an optional addition). There are plenty of non-alcoholic punch recipes floating around too, or try your hand at traditional refreshments like tepache, Palomas or horchata. Easiest of all is a watermelon aqua fresca, which is just watermelon chunks blended with sugar, water and lime juice, and garnished with fresh mint. The sweetness should play well with the spice of what you’re serving. If you just want to keep it simple, though, any flavour of Jarritos soda should hit the spot.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Old El Paso. Try the new Teriyaki Meets Tacos fusion flavour, available at your local Woolworths and independent grocery stores.