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Mexican

(Photo by Brad)

Huevos Rancheros

Just the thought of barely runny yolks, silky beans, earthy tortillas, spicy salsa, and the way they go so wonderfully together gets my tastebuds excited. It’s a Mexican breakfast dish worthy of indulgence at any time of day or night. Versions vary: Some scramble the eggs, or leave out the beans, or add cheese. We like it just as you see it pictured above. It’s not a dish to make for a crowd unless you have multiple burners and are adept at frying several eggs at once while heating up the beans and the sauce and the tortillas. I like to make it just for two – a perfect way to start the day.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

The beans:

1-15 oz. can black beans

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon lime juice

The tomato sauce:

1 small onion

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1-14 oz. can chopped tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)

1 clove garlic

1 serano chili (or use jalapeno)

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Pinch sugar, salt

4 x 6″ corn tortillas

4 eggs (wonderfully fresh organic if you can)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Half avocado, sliced (optional)

Tip the beans with their liquid into a pot, along with the cumin and garlic.  Allow to simmer gently until the flavors are blended, then add salt to taste and the lime juice.  Mash them against the side of the pot until semi-mashed. Keep warm.

Cook the onion in the oil for a few minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, the garlic and as much of the finely chopped serano or jalapeno as you think prudent.  Add salt and a pinch of sugar to taste, then the cilantro.

Wrap the tortillas in a wet paper towel and heat them in the microwave for 1 minute.  Or toast them individually in a skillet 30 seconds each side.

Now fry the eggs: In a skillet that will accommodate 4 eggs, heat the oil, gently crack each egg and slide it into the pan. Over low heat, cook the eggs sunny-side-up until the whites are no longer opague but the yolks are still just runny.  

Place two tortillas on each plate, top each with a fried egg, then add a serving of beans, the tomato sauce and optional avocado.

Have a nice day!

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There are many kinds of fish tacos — good, bad, mediocre.  You can just grill or fry a piece of fish, use some bottled salsa, slice up some avocado, warm up a tortilla or two and be perfectly satisfied.  But a REALLY good fish taco is to die for and I think it’s worth the extra effort to come up with the best.  After a lot of trial and error, I’ve settled on two favorites, either of which I would consider having at my Last Supper.

The first is Baja-style: I use a firm-fleshed white fish such as cod, batter-fry it to a crisp, then put it in a warm tortilla along with sliced avocado and a wonderful fresh slaw. That’s it.

What’s so great about that, you ask?  Follow the recipe carefully and you’ll find out.

Baja-style Fish Tacos

Serves 4  (2 tacos per person)

For the batter:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup tepid water

1 egg white

Sieve the flour with the salt, blend in the olive oil and then the water.  Stir to a smooth cream, then let sit for at least an hour, preferably two. Before using, fold in the stiffly whipped egg white.

For the Mexican slaw:

6 cups thinly-sliced cabbage

1 large garlic clove 

1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon canned chipotle in adobo, chopped  

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/2 small red onion, chopped fine

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Pound the garlic clove, cumin and salt together in a pestle and mortar (or bowl).  Add all the following ingredients and mix well.  Blend into the cabbage and let it sit for at least half an hour. This will make too much slaw for the tacos but it is so addictive that you won’t have any trouble polishing it off.

For assembling (making) the taco:

1 lb. fresh cod (or other firm-fleshed white fish)

8 – 8″ corn tortillas (size is important)

1 ripe avocado

Vegetable oil

Cut the washed and dried cod into 1/2″ x approx. 3″ pieces.  Coat the pieces well with the batter.

Heat enough oil to make 1/2″ deep in an approx. 9″ non-stick pan until a drop of batter immediately crisps.  Fry the fish on each side 2-3 minutes until golden.  Drain on paper towels.

In the meantime, wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in the oven or wrap them in a dampened paper towel and heat in a microwave.

Peel and cut the avocado into 16 slices (2 per taco).

Assemble the tacos: cup each tortilla in your hand and put in two or three pieces of the fish.  Load up with the slaw and a few slices of avocado. Devour immediately.

Salmon, Black Bean, Goat Cheese and Tomatillo-Guacamole Burritos

Serves 4 

This involves flour tortillas, so it’s technically more of a burrito than a taco. These ingedients make for a kaleidoscope of colors and flavors. I like it best with grilled salmon, but I’ve also made it with store-bought smoked salmon and liked it just fine.

Ingredients:

6 tomatillos

1  ripe avocado

1 clove garlic

1 jalapeño pepper

1tablespoon chopped cilantro

Salt

1 15 oz. can black beans

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon lime juice

12 oz. salmon filet (or 2×6 oz.)

1 teaspoon olive oil 

4 – 8-10″ flour tortillas

4 oz. fresh goat cheese

For the Tomatillo-Guacamole:

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them under warm water to remove their stickiness.  Place them, along with the clove of garlic, in a skillet on a medium flame. Turn them a few times until blackened in spots and slightly softened, about 10 minutes.  Peel and chop the garlic and put it in a food processor along with the halved tomatillos, chopped jalapeño, avocado, cilantro and salt.  Puree on pulse until almost smooth, but with some texture remaining.  Transfer mixture to a bowl.

For the Black Beans:

Heat  the beans in a saucepan with about half of their liquid and the cumin, mashing them slightly.  Add salt and the lime juice.

For the Salmon:

Paint the filets with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Broil or cook on a grill pan for 3-4 minutes a side, depending on the thickness of the filets, until still opaque in the center.

Assemble the burritos:

Wrap the tortillas in foil or paper towels, heating them in the oven/microwave.  Spread each one with 1/4 of the goat cheese, 1/4 of the salmon, placed across the center of the tortilla. Add a spoonful or two of black beans on one side and the same of the guacamole on the other.  Roll up and serve. (If you like your tortillas piping hot as I do, you can give them a minute in the microwave.)