LIME-RUBBED CHICKEN TACOS WITH CORN GUACAMOLE
Tacos de pollo con guacamole con elote
Serves 6 to 8
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
Corn Guacamole Ingredients:
2 large ripe Mexican avocados, halved, pitted and diced
1 jalapeño chile, roasted, chopped, or to taste
2 garlic cloves, roasted with the skin on, peeled and minced
3/4 cup corn kernels, shaved from corn, or cooked from thawed
3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or chopped
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
To assemble Tacos:
10-12 corn tortillas, homemade or store-bought
To make the Chicken:
Mix the lime juice with the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper and rosemary in a bowl. Pour on top of the chicken, in a container. Cover and refrigerate anywhere from 1/2 hour up to 12 hours.
Heat a medium-sized sauté or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add corn or safflower oil; once it is hot but not smoking, add the chicken. Sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the pan, place on chopping board to cool. When cool enough to handle, slice into diagonal strips about a 1/2-inch wide.
To make the Guacamole:
Place the jalapeño and garlic cloves in a small baking dish under the broiler, for 6 to 9 minutes, until completely cooked through, soft and skin is charred. Once cool enough to handle, peel garlic and mince along with chiles.
Place diced avocado in a mixing bowl. Add the charred and minced garlic and jalapeños, gently tossing everything together well. Incorporate the corn and tomatoes. Squeeze the lime juice on top and sprinkle the salt. Mix it all together.
To assemble Tacos:
In an already hot skillet or comal set over medium-low heat, heat the tortillas. It will take about 1 minute per side.
Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or cloth napkin. Serve them together with the guacamole and the chicken at the table and assemble your tacos!
This episode explores three very different, very authentic and very simple twists on Mexican tacos, one of Mexico’s most iconic foods.
FRESH JíCAMA AND ORANGE PICO DE GALLO
Pico de jícama y naranja
Makes 8 servings
1 large or 2 small jícamas, 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into sticks
3 oranges, peeled and separated into segments or sliced
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
3 tablspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more taste
1 tablespoon dried ground chile Piquín or Tajín, or to taste
1/2 cup shelled roasted (not salted) peanuts, chopped and toasted
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to create a vinaigrette.
Place the jícamas and oranges in a salad bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette. Let it all marinate for about 10 minutes, either inside or outside of the refrigerator. Sprinkle with the peanuts and serve.
ANCHO CHILE AND ORANGE JUICE TEQUILA CHASER
Makes 10-12 small servings
1 ounce or 2 ancho chiles
3 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
Heat a comal or dry skillet over low-medium heat until hot.
Remove the stems, seeds and veins from the ancho chiles. Toast over the hot comal or dry skillet, over medium heat, for about 15 seconds per side, until chiles have softened and then begin to toast, have changed their color and released their aroma. Be careful not to burn them.
Place the chiles in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, until they rehydrate and look plump; let cool.
Place chiles and 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid in a blender along with the orange juice, lime juice, white onion and salt. Purée until smooth.
Serve as a drink alongside tequila in caballitos or straight, poured over ice cubes. Sangrita can be refrigerated for up to a week.
6 fresh ears of corn, husked and rinsed
Unsalted butter, to taste
Mayonnaise, to taste
1 cup crumbled queso cotija or queso fresco, or to taste
1 lime, or to taste
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
Dried ground chile like piquín or a mix like Tajín
To cook the corn, you can grill it or boil it. To grill, brush the ears of corn with a bit of oil. Place them over a grill or grill pan, set over medium heat, and let the corn cook and char slightly, turning every 3 minutes until all the corn is done, anywhere from 9 to 12 minutes total. Remove from the heat. You can also cook the corn it in boiling water until soft and cooked, less than ten minutes.
Once cooked, stick the corn on corn holders or a wooden stick. Choose your toppings! Traditionally in Mexico, we: spread butter, then a layer of mayonnaise, coat thoroughly with crumbled cheese, sprinkle with salt and ground chile and finally, drizzle with freshly-squeezed lime juice.
This year I promised my boys we would plant goodies in the backyard to harvest ourselves. At the nursery, jumping up and down as in a candy shop, they dragged so many plants to the counter, I had to give an absolute NO to half of them.
We ended up with thyme, oregano, bay leaves, rosemary, mint, parsley, and cilantro. Ok, and tomatoes, cherry and roma. Fine… corn too, don’t know what I was thinking. And wait! We couldn’t leave without jalapeños, which led me to run for some tomatillos. And scallions. I stopped there. I did.
Then Sami came back with a little watermelon plant. That was the wildest idea, oh, that monster of mine. We’ve no room to grow watermelon. I told him about the big wide fields in Northern Mexico, in states like Sonora, Chihuahua, Jalisco and Sinaloa where watermelon is grown extensively. Our backyard is… not so big.
We brought home Sami’s watermelon plant.
Continue reading Summertime Watermelon & Tomatillo Salad: Beat the Heat!
Summertime Watermelon & Tomatillo Salad: Beat the Heat!
The Mexican way to wildly dress simply cooked corn drives me wild:
Crunchy sweet corn on a stick, brushed with butter and mayo, coated in tangy and salty crumbled queso fresco, sprinkled with chile powder, typically chile piquín or tajin, coarse salt and a liberal squeeze of lime juice…
It doesn’t matter if I am hungry. The mere site of a street food corn stand makes me stop dead in my tracks and zoom over for one. Like a wild woman. I need one. Well, the truth is one is not enough, ever.
In Mexico you find corn stands all over, in little towns and big cities. Locals know what day of the week and at what times they show up. If you are not from there, it takes a while to figure it out.
Continue reading Go Wild, Munch On Your Crazy Corn!
I began to see the exotic side of the tomatillo once in the US.
Growing up in Mexico, they were a standard at every market, part of our weekly mandado, present in our family meals at least half a dozen times a week: in salsa verde to pour on top of almost everything, in enchiladas, chilaquiles, bathing fish, covering a shredded meat and potato stew, and sometimes cactus paddles.
Think something like salt … how odd it is to find a kitchen without salt?
Once we moved to Texas, the only place I could find them was in Latino stores. As the years moved on, there was no one I met without a Mexican connection who had ever cooked with a tomatillo or even dared to bring one home.
Sure, many people love salsa verde and eat it in restaurants or buy a jar at the store, but few know that its star ingredient, is the tomatillo.
Continue reading Tomatillo and Lime Jam
ANCHO CHILE MEXICAN HAMBURGERS WITH LIME AIOLI
Hamburguesas con Chile Ancho y Aioli de Limon
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 lbs ground veal
1 1/2 cup white onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
4 ancho chiles, rinsed, stemmed, seeded
1 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tbsp
1 tsp grated lime rind
3 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 hamburger buns
2 red tomatoes, sliced
8 iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup white onion, sliced
Place chiles in a small bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Places chiles in the blender along with 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, onion and garlic, and puree until smooth.
In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and veal. Add the chile mixture, two lightly beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Mix until it is all well incorporated.
Heat the grill or pan over medium heat until very hot and brush some oil. With your hands, mold the patties and place them on the hot grill or pan. Cook for about 4 to 6 minutes per side, depending on how well cooked you like your burgers. I like them medium-well, so it is about 5 minutes per side for me.
Place the garnishes on the table so that everyone can choose to their liking.
To make the lime aioli, place everything in a mixing bowl, and just mix it all up!
If you want to make this hamburger into a cheeseburger, Monterey Jack is a great companion. Just place a slice of cheese on to the patties once you flipped them on the pan or grill and let it melt as it finishes cooking.
Agua de Jamaica
Makes 4 to 5 cups
1 cup jamaica concentrate (see below)
3 to 4 cups water
When ready to serve, dilute 1 cup concentrate with 3 to 4 cups water, or to your liking, and some ice cubes.
Makes about 5 cups
8 cups water
6 oz dried hibiscus or jamaica flowers, about 2 cups
1 1/2 cups sugar, or to taste
2 tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste
In a saucepan, pour 8 cups of water and place over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, add the jamaica flowers, simmer at medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes and turn off the heat. Let it cool down and strain into a heat proof glass or plastic water jar. Add the sugar and lime juice, mix well, cover and refrigerate.
It will keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 months.