Crispy chicken tacos, radish salad take top prize at Taco Takedown

Just hours before Paul Qui, Sean Brock and Nathan Myhrvold threw down the fanciest dinner of South by Southwest Interactive, Austin home cooks showed off their skills at a decidedly less high-end affair, the Taco Takedown at Shangri La.

Not even all the tacos.

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Evin Cooper's radish salad was one component of her winning dish at Sunday's Taco Takedown at Shangri-La. Photo by Addie Broyles.

Evin Cooper’s radish salad was one component of her winning dish at Sunday’s Taco Takedown at Shangri-La. Photo by Addie Broyles.

More than 15 teams competed, serving everything from gumbo and Frito pie tacos to traditional mole and pulled pork tacos. Taking the top judges’ prize (I was one of them) was Austin blogger Evin Cooper who, with the help of her assistant (and best friend) Shelley Oswald, fried crispy chicken tacos to serve with this radish corn salad that was delicious enough to eat all on its own.

I asked her for the recipe, and she was happy to share it, and if you want to know how she fried the tacos, check out the Pioneer Woman-inspired tutorial on her blog, Food Good Laundry Bad (foodgoodlaundrybad.com).

Cooper notes that because there is no lettuce in this salad to get soggy, you can make it up to a day in advance of serving.

Radish Corn Salad

For the salad:
2 fresh jalapeños
2 cups sliced radishes
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 onion, diced
For the dressing:
2 limes, juiced and zested
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Fresh cilantro, salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie pan with oil and set the peppers on it, then spray the peppers. When the oven is hot, roast the pepper until soft and slightly charred, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and let cool.

While the peppers cool, wash and slice enough radishes to make 2 cups. Add 1 cup frozen corn (or more! Corn is awesome) and half a diced onion. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the seeds and chop finely, then add to the salad and toss.

In a blender, add the lime juice and zest, garlic cloves and cilantro. Turn on the blender and slowly stream in the oil. Taste and add more oil or lime juice as needed, and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the dressing with the salad and serve.

— From Evin Cooper, Food Good Laundry Bad (foodgoodlaundrybad.com)


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