In Praise of the French Taco

Back in 2021 the New York published an article about a type of food I’d never heard of before: the French taco. Here’s the link; go read it and then come back here.

I – and many of my friends – were amazed. It sounded incredible and disgusting at the same time. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that:

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

The French taco seemed to be the culinary equivalent.

The next year our family ended up in France and I dragged everyone to an O’Tacos near the Centre Pompidou. My family laughed at me as I walked in and immediately became the only person in the store who had experienced the 1980s or prior. Despite my not fitting in, it was a quasi-religious experience for me as I ordered and awaited my first bite. Would it taste as good as I’d imagined after reading the New Yorker article?

It was all it was meant to be and as good as expected. My family had been mocking me but all wanted a bit – and then immediately apologized. All of us were converted.

In fact, I was so affected that I took a photo of my receipt so that I could recreate the dish:

And then I did nothing. For over a year.

Despite telling everyone I knew how good the French taco was I never bothered to attempt it again. Partly because I don’t really need 2,000 calories in a single meal and also because I don’t have a panini press.

But yesterday a friend who has a panini press came over and we finally rectified this mistake. I tried to recreate the dish I tasted almost eighteen months ago – and I think it worked.

Here’s the partially assembled “taco”:

I’ll give you the full recipe below but you’re looking at two layers of cheese there: layer 1 goes over the French fries and layer two goes on top.

And here’s what it looked like after the press (it’s been quartered; we were experimenting with different cheese types; this one is my favorite):

It was amazing and I’m salivating as I write this.

So go run a half marathon, go backcountry skiing for the day or do whatever it takes to make you insanely hungry and then make one of these. I’ve included a simple recipe below.


Here’s the recipe:

  1. Melt together equal parts Gruyere, Raclette & sour cream
  2. Cook Merguez sausage and falafel
  3. Caramelize a few onions. I like to caramelize them with the Merguez; they taste even better
  4. Bake some store-bought french fries. Don’t waste your time making your own
  5. Assemble all of this into the biggest flour tortilla you can find. Lay down the fries first and top with some of the cheese sauce. Then add the onions, Merguez and falafel. Add more cheese sauce and spread some harissa paste on it
  6. Fold this tightly into a brick and press in panini grill for 3-5 minutes. I like it to be crispy but not burnt


Categorized as Food