Amor y Tacos: Modern Mexican Tacos, Margaritas, and Antojitos by Deborah Schneider, includes recipes like Chicken Fajita Taco Dorado; Scallop Aguachiles in Volcano Sauce; and Mushroom, Rajas, and Corn Taco with Queso Fresco.
Makes 12 large tacos
The fajitas popular today are a fairly recent Tex-Mex invention, based on simple Mexican cowboy food-grilled skirt steak. As good ideas will, fajitas quickly spread across the country (with varying degrees of success), and today chicken is the preferred fajita meat in the United States. Prepared in the pulchritudinous dorado style (lightly fried and layered with melted cheese), the chicken is exceptional. The meat stays moist and tender, savory with chiles and garlic, bright with lime and tequila. If you prefer, serve the fajitas alone with warm corn tortillas. For a special treat, prepare this dish as a vampiro taco (see page 107 of the book), substituting fajitas for carne asada. Of course you can also get back to your vaquero roots and make this recipe with beef.
To serve: cilantro sprigs, pickled jalapeño slices, pico de gallo, crumbled cotixa cheese (optional)
1. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes. (Freezing the meat for 30 minutes ahead of time makes cutting easier.) Have all the rest of the ingredients prepared and ready at hand.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy sauté pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken well, stirring often. Season it with half the salt.
3. Increase the heat to high and add the garlic, onion, fresh peppers, crushed red chiles, and oregano. Cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are just wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with the remaining salt. The pan should be almost dry.
Poblanos are wide and sharply pointed, with dark green, shiny skin. They come into their own when charred and sautéed with onions and garlic into rajas (literally, "rags"). Ripe red poblanos, also called for in the Garlic Shrimp Taco recipe (see page 92 of the book), may be found in Latin markets from September to November. If it's not the right season, substitute bell pepper. Note that poblano chiles can be spicy, so if you don't like heat, substitute mild, light-green Anaheims. This is also great over rice.
Char the whole peppers on all sides, by placing them directly in a gas flame or under a hot broiler. Wrap them in a paper towel and allow to cool completely, then remove the stem and seeds. Rub off the charred skin with the towel—do not wash the chiles or you'll lose all that great smoky flavor. Cut the peppers into 1/2-inch dice.
Heat an 8-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the diced peppers and onion. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and even a little browned.
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This page created July 2010
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