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 6 large tacos
The earliest Mexican cuisine was vegetable-based, so in times past, before Spanish beef, chicken, and pork worked their way into every taco, there were no doubt plenty of satisfying vegetable taco recipes. Today most vegetables are consumed as salsas, in soups, or stuffed into quesadillas and empanadas, but there's no reason why a vegetable taco shouldn't be every bit as tasty and unusual as any other. This sumptuous vegetarian feast is based on the classic combination of roasted poblano chiles and mushrooms, with the addition of corn and mild-flavored, soft queso fresco. This taco is often favored by even the most committed carnivores. In other seasons, bits of diced cooked sweet potato, zucchini, chayote, squash blossoms, or golden winter squash would be welcome additions.
Fresh epazote, used as a flavoring in this taco, has a minty-oregano taste and is often available at Mexican markets. (It is also hardy and easy to grow.) Fresh or dried mint or Mexican oregano may be substituted, but do not substitute dried epazote.
1. Roast the chiles as for rajas and cut them into 1/2-inch dice.
2. Heat a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until very hot.
3. In a bowl, toss the corn with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Spread the corn in the hot pan and let it blacken slightly, without stirring, for 30 seconds. Have a lid ready in case the kernels begin to pop. Remove the roasted corn from the pan.
Makes 2-1/2 cups
A very useful salsa that is easy to make and keeps well. Firm, fresh Roma tomatoes are dry-roasted until soft and well charred on all sides (quemado literally means "burnt"), then pureed into a smooth salsa with sweet toasted garlic, fresh cilantro. and onion. Salsa quemada clings to the dryer and chunkier taco fillings, adding moisture and great flavor. It is also a classic table salsa, perfect to serve with tostadas and totopos.
1. Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated. Put a piece of aluminum foil in a heavy sauté pan (preferably cast iron) and set it over medium-high heat. Place the whole tomatoes, chile, and garlic cloves in the pan and dry-roast them on all sides until well charred and soft. The garlic and chiles will be done quickly; the tomatoes may take 10 minutes or longer to cook.
2. Peel the garlic and stem the chile. Place the tomatoes, garlic, and chile in a food processor with the onion, salt, and cilantro. Pulse until the salsa is smooth and taste for seasoning. The salsa will keep, refrigerated, for several days. Reseason before use.
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This page created July 2010
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