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Anatomy of a Dish

Alex Stupak's Pickled Tongue and Fried-Mayo Tacos

Alex Stupak's Pickled Tongue and Fried-Mayo Tacos

Tongue & Fried-Mayo Tacos Photo © Line Klein

Chef Alex Stupak uses his avant-garde genius—and the iconic pickled tongue dish from Manhattan's WD-50—to transform the down-to-earth taco.

Alex Stupak wants tacos to be the next sushi. "Sushi used to be street food in Tokyo," says the chef of Empellón Cocina in New York City. "Now you find it at Michelin three-star spots." Stupak believes tacos can be the next crossover superstar. So he's reinventing iconic dishes, from chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, as fillings for freshly made tortillas. His newest inspiration is Pickled Beef Tongue with Fried Mayo, Tomato Molasses, Onion Soil and Romaine, from the groundbreaking Manhattan spot WD-50. Stupak used to be the pastry chef there; the pickled tongue was his favorite dish. He says that the trickiest part is the mayo, which is thickened with the gelling agent gellan gum, then dunked in hot oil. empellon.com/cocina

Related: Chef Superstar Alex Stupak
Fantastic Taco Recipes
Innovations from Cutting-Edge Chefs

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