Of all the foods most commonly associated with Native American culture, frybread has long been at the center of the table. From one end of the continent to the other, from region to region and tribe to tribe, there are hundreds of recipe variations on the tempting and tasty treat.
Whether inspired by ingredients found close to home or by those from locales a bit more exotic, each of our gourmet variations on frybread bring a creative alternative to the classic treat, and can be down-sized for snacks or appetizers.
2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive, grapeseed, or sunflower seed oil
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup red grapes, halved lengthwise
1-2 medium avocadoes, halved and cut into slices
½ cup cucumber slices, halved
½ cup feta cheese cubes or plain Greek-style yogurt
¼ cup marinated artichoke hearts, halves quartered lengthwise
¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese
In a medium skillet, sauté chicken breasts in oil over medium heat, turning every two to three minutes. Add seasonings after second turn. Turn heat to medium-low and continue cooking and turning chicken for a total cooking time of about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow chicken to cool for several minutes, then drain on paper towels. Cut into thin slices or small cubes. Spoon mixture onto prepared frybreads. In order given, add equal portions of garnishes to each frybread. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
1 pound shrimp, fresh or frozen and thawed, shelled, deveined and tail removed (slice down the middle backside to allow shrimp to fan-out; be careful not to cut through the shrimp)
1 pound lobster meat, uncooked
½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ clove fresh garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1½ tablespoons dry sherry or port wine
2 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraiche
1 teaspoon whole capers
1 cup fresh grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
Salt to taste
¼ cup sliced scallions, or green onion, including stalks, rinsed, trimmed, and patted dry
¼ cup fresh carrot, finely shredded
¼ cup white radish, julienned
4 wedges fresh lime
In medium skillet, heat butter and oil on low until edges begin to brown. Add shrimp, lobster and garlic and cook for two to three minutes. Remove meat from pan and set aside in bowl. Do not drain. Remove any remaining bits of garlic from pan and discard. In order given, add next five ingredients. Using a wire whisk, stir continuously to achieve a smooth, velvety texture. Continue to cook until mixture bubbles. In order given, add remaining ingredients and meat from bowl. Remove from heat. Spoon filling mixture onto prepared frybreads. In order given, add equal portions of first three garnishes to each frybread. Place one lime wedge in the center of each garnished frybread. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Sweet Tooth Taco
8 scoops ice cream of choice
1/8 cup powdered, unsweetened cocoa
1/8 cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup crushed pineapple
¼ cup chocolate sauce
1 cup whipped cream
¼ cup pine nuts, whole or coarsely chopped
4 Bing or maraschino cherries
In small bowl, mix cocoa and sugar. Set aside. On large tray, arrange four prepared frybreads. Place two scoops of ice cream onto each frybread. Using a flour-sifter or sieve, dust tops of ice cream with equal amounts of cocoa-sugar mixture, followed by pineapple. In order given, add equal amounts of garnishes to each frybread. Top each with a cherry and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
When it comes to fillings and garnishes, the options are virtually endless. Try a low-fat, vegetarian version by simply omitting the meat entirely or replacing it with legumes or sautéed tofu, and using a lighter oil such as avocado or coconut. For heart-healthier and blood-sugar friendlier versions, experiment with some of the many varieties of flour now available at most natural grocers, including acorn, banana, blue-corn, or gluten-free. And, for a dessert that doesn’t break the calorie budget but still hits the spot, try topping your sweet tooth taco with frozen yogurt and fresh fruit. Just a dusting of the powdered cocoa-confectioner’s sugar mixture with a little cinnamon and ground anise added in makes for a delicious, Santa Fe-inspired holiday indulgence.
Frybread Nutrition Facts:
One average six-inch fry-bread contains approximately 285 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein.