RECIPE TITLE "Essential Simmered Tomato-Jalapeno sauce (Salsa de Fitomate Cocida) "
from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant flavors of a World-Class Cuisine by Rick Bayless
... more great recipes by Rick Bayless on our GREAT CHEFS page!
makes 4 cups easy
You can taste the sear and sizzle in every spoonful of this well-known classic. Here the roasty sweetness of charred tomatoes and blistered chiles are all blended to a rough puree and seared in a hot pan. But why does tradition dictate that we go to the fuss of roasting and frying when a comforting sauce of canned tomatoes (perhaps with the familiar touch of tomato paste) could be slow-simmered with a little diced jalapeño? Because we want the earthy gustiness of Mexico here, not the slow-simmered sweetness of a typical pizza sauce. We're talking inimitable huevos rancheros of energetic tomato-doused sunnyside-up eggs on toasty corn tortillas.
Choose plum tomatoes for a thicker texture, round tomatoes for a lighter, brothier consistency. This sauce is so versatile you can substitute it for any tomato sauce called for in this book.
Generous 1 pound (about 2 large round, 8 to 10 plum) tomatoes
1 to 2 (about 3/4 ounce total) fresh jalapeño chiles, stemmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or rich-tasting lard
1/2 small (about 2 ounces) white onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons, depending on the saltiness of the broth
1. Roasting the tomatoes and chiles. Roast the tomatoes and chiles on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blistered and blackened on 1 side, about 6 minutes, then use tongs or a spoon to turn them over and roast the other side. Cool, then peel the tomatoes, collecting all the juices. Roughly chop the chiles. Coarsely puree the tomatoes (with juices) and the chiles in a food processor or blender. Pulse the mixture only a few times leaving it quite chunky for huevos rancheros, for instance, or run the machine until the sauce is quite smooth if you're preparing, say, enchiladas.
2. Cooking the sauce. In a medium (8- to 9-inch) deep, heavy skillet or medium-size (2- to 3-quart) saucepan heat the oil or lard over medium. Add the onion and fry until browned, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, and, when very hot, add the tomato-chile mixture. Stir for 5 minutes or so as the mixture sizzles, darkens and thickens, then reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the broth and let the sauce cook at a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes, until beginning to thicken (though it shouldn't be as thick as spaghetti sauce). Taste and season with salt and it's ready to use.
Advance Preparation -- This useful sauce can be made several days in advance; it can be frozen successfully but may need to be boiled briefly to look as it did before freezing.
Shortcuts -- Three-quarters of a 28-ounce can of tomatoes can replace the fresh ones.
Other Chiles You Can Use -- The same quantity of serranos can replace the jalapeños, as can 1/2 to 1 habanero chile.
Traditional Dishes that Use this Essential as a Starting Point
Spicy Tomato-Sauced Enchiladas
Simple Ideas from My American Home
Huevos Rancheros -- Steam-heat 8 corn tortillas. Fry 8 eggs sunny-side up. On each of 4 plates, slide 2 eggs onto 2 slightly overlapping warm tortillas, liberally spoon the sauce over everything, then sprinkle with sliced raw onion, chopped cilantro and a little crumbled Mexican queso fresco, queso añejo or Parmesan.
Layered Tortilla-Ricotta Casserole -- Steam-heat 12 tortillas, smear a little of the sauce over a baking dish, then make 4 "stacks" in the dish: Spread out 4 tortillas, spoon 3 tablespoons of ricotta (seasoned with salt) onto each, sprinkle with some sauteed mushrooms or grilled vegetables and some chopped cilantro or fresh thyme, splash with a little sauce, then repeat the layers of tortilla, ricotta, mushrooms (or vegetables) and sauce. Finish each stack with a tortilla. Spoon sauce on to cover the tortilla well, sprinkle with grated Chihuahua or other melting cheese and bake until they're bubbly and brown.
Seared Jalapeño Beef Tips -- Make the sauce with beef stock if you have it. In a large, heavy skillet filmed with oil, sear about 1 1/4 pounds of beef sirloin or other steak (cut into 1-inch cubes) over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Add 2 cups of the sauce, then briskly boil until slightly reduced and the meat is as done as you like it.
Fresh Jalapeño Chiles
As my wife Deann says, "Jalapeños are being bred to boredom." The raw flesh of some of the cultivars has as little flavor and heat as a green bell pepper, with the same kind of juicy, grassy qualities. Others will be richer in flavor and medium hot (or more). The bigger ones seem to be blander, and I think their only good use is for stuffing, because it is easy. Jalapeños sold in the Mexican markets are often smaller and more flavorful. If the jalapeños in your recipe are chopped or pickled whole, they could easily be replaced with serranos (and in some instances probably should be, if you like a spicy green-chile zing).
Jalapeños are found in practically every market in Mexico and most supermarkets in the United States. It's in Veracruz, though, that they have their homeland and grow in the greatest variety You'll find Christmasy red ones, and ones they call gordos (fat chiles), or huachinangos, or cuaresmeños -- locals swear they all taste different, though I think you need to be raised there to get some of the differences. The smallest ones are dried into chile chipotle colorado (also known as chile mora or morita); large ones that dry with a corky covering become chile chipotle meco.
Stats: An average jalapeño is bell-pepper green (lighter than a poblano), about 1/2 ounce, about 2 1/2 inches long by 3/4 inch wide, the smooth-skinned, torpedo-shaped body (with rounded shoulder) quickly tapering to a point near the end.
|Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant flavors of a World-Class Cuisine
BURSTING WITH BOLD, COMPLEX FLAVORS, Mexican cooking has the kind of gusto we want in food today. Until now, American home cooks have had few authorities to translate the heart of this world-class cuisine to everyday cooking.
In this book of more than 150 recipes, award-winning chef, author and teacher Rick bayless provides the inspiration and guidance that home cooks have needed. With a blend of passion, patience, clarity and humor, he unerringly finds his way into the very soul of Mexican cuisine, from essential recipes and explorations of Mexico's many chiles to quick-to-prepare everyday dishes and pull-out-the-stops celebration fare.
Bayless begins the journey by introducing us to the building blocks of Mexican cooking. With infectious enthusiasm and an entertaining voice, he outlines 16 essential preparations-deeply flavored tomato sauces and tangy tomatillo salsas, rich chile pastes and indispensable handmade tortillas.
Fascinating cultural background and practical cooking tips help readers to understand these preparations and make them their own. Each recipe explains which steps can be completed in advance to make final preparation easier, and each provides a list of the dishes in later chapters that are built around these basics. And with each essential recipe, Bayless includes several "Simple Ideas from My American Home"-quick, familiar recipes with innovative Mexican accents, such as Baked Ham with Yucatecan Flavors, Spicy Chicken Salad, Ancho-Broiled Salmon and Very, Very Good Chili.
Throughout, the intrepid Bayless brings chiles into focus, revealing that Mexican cooks use these pods for flavor, richness, color and, yes, sometimes for heat. He details the simple techniques for getting the best out of every chile-from the rich, smoky chipotle to the incendiary but fruity habanero.
Then, in more than 135 recipes that follow, Bayless guides us through a wide range of richly flavored regional Mexican dishes, combining down-home appeal and convivial informality with simple culinary elegance. It's all here: starters like Classic Seviche Tostadas or Chorizo-Stuffed Ancho Chiles; soups like Slow-Simmered Fava Bean Soup or Rustic Ranch-Style Soup; casual tortilla-based preparations like Achiote-Roasted Pork Tacos or Street-Style Red Chile Enchiladas; vegetable delights like Smoky Braised Mexican Pumpkin, or Green Poblano Rice; even a whole chapter on classic fiesta food (from Oaxacan Black Mole with Braised Chicken, Smoky Peanut Mole with Grilled Quail and Great Big Tamal Roll with Chard with the incomparable Juchitan-Style Black Bean Tamales); and ending with a selection of luscious desserts like Modern Mexican Chocolate Flan with KahIua and Yucatecan-Style Fresh Coconut Pie. To quickly expand your Mexican repertoire even further, each of these recipes is accompanied by suggestions for variations and improvisations.
There is no greater authority on Mexican cooking than Rick Bayless, and no one can teach it better. In his skillful hands, the wonderful flavors of Mexico will enter your kitchen and your daily cooking routine without losing any of their depth or timeless appeal. More info
| Mexico One Plate At A Time
Rick Bayless has been acclaimed widely as America's foremost proponent of Mexico's thrillingly diverse cuisine. In this companion book to his 26-part Public Television series, he takes us, with boyish enthusiasm, through Mexican markets, street stalls and home kitchens to bring us the great dishes of Mexico, one "plate" at a time. And each "plate" Rick presents here is a Mexican classic. Take guacamole, for instance. After teaching us the essentials for a perfect, classic guacamole, Rick shows how to spin contemporary interpretations, like his Roasted Poblano Guacamole with garlic and parsley. Rick's cuisine is always lively, but rooted in strong traditions.
Always the teacher, Rick begins each "plate" with some never-before-found features: traditional benchmarks (Rick's idea of the best guacamole), when to think of the recipes (weeknight dinners or casual party food), and advice for American cooks (Rick's insight into the ingredients that make the dish). He rounds out each "plate" with suggestions for working ahead.
To complete the journey into the Mexican mindset, Rick, with help from his testers, ends each "plate" with a question-and-answer section detailing just about everything a home cook might want to know: What are the best cuts of beef for grilled tacos? The best cheeses for quesadillas? Is one grill better than another? Rick draws from his years of living in Mexico, pulling us into the Mexican kitchen, to teach us how to create authentic Mexican dishes in our American kitchens.
Rick is an Indiana Jones of the stove, a Julia Child of Mexican cuisine in black jeans and a T-shirt. Rick's goal: to enable folks all across the United States to create dishes that weave in the rich tapestry of Mexican flavor with ingredients that are widely available. He always provides ingredients that make the dish authentic, but he also delivers with the right substitute if an ingredient is hard to find.
Experience food you can't wait to make in a new and user-friendly cookbook that contains the full range of dishes -- Starters, Snacks and Light Meals; Soups, Stews and Sides; Entrées; Desserts and Drinks. Rick serves up such classic Mexican plates as Tomatillo-Braised Pork Loin, Quick-Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic, Chiles Rellenos, Cheesy Enchiladas Suizas, and Mexican Vanilla-Scented Flan.
And for an exciting taste of the unexpected, try Rick's contemporary interpretations of the classics -- Crispy Potato Sopes with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs, Grilled Salmon with Lemon-and-Thyme-Scented Salsa Veracruzana, Broiled Flank Steak with Tomato-Poblano Salsa and Rustic Cajeta Apple Tarts with Berry "Salsa."
Food and friends, food and family. Good cooking, for Rick, is the unspoken animator of friends and family as they gather to share a meal. Rick's recipes lend themselves to weeknight family meals or celebrations. Take part in a tamalada, the tamal-making party before the party, or the ritual of a barbacoa, an earthy experience that Rick has made possible with a kettle grill in the backyard. More info
|Mexican Everyday (Recipes Featured on Season 4 of the PBS-TV series In his previous books, Rick Bayless transformed America's understanding of Mexican cuisine, introducing authentic dishes and cooking methods as he walked readers through Mexican markets and street stalls.
As much as Rick loves the bold flavors of Mexican foods, he understands that preparing many Mexican specialties requires more time than most of us have. Mexican Everyday is written with the time sensitivities of modern life in mind. It is a collection of 90 full-flavored recipes—like Green Chile Chicken Tacos, Shrimp Ceviche Salad, Chipotle Steak with Black Beans—that meet three criteria for "everyday" food: 1) most need less than 30 minutes' involvement; 2) they have the fresh, clean taste of simple, authentic preparations; and 3) they are nutritionally balanced, full-featured meals—no elaborate side dishes required. Companion to a thirteen-part public television series, this book provides dishes you can eat with family and friends, day in and day out. Color throughout. More info
| Salsas That Cook : Using Classic Salsas To Enliven Our Favorite Dishes
Salsas That Cook is a breakthrough in contemporary American cooking. Here, Mexico's classic salsas get put to work in our kitchens in the same way we use a variety of international condiments, from teriyaki sauce to balsamic vinegar, to enliven and redefine the flavor of many American favorites. While most of us have enjoyed salsas as chip dips, salsas show great versatility when weaving complex flavor into simple dishes, from pasta to potatoes to meats, fish and vegetables.
Salsas embody the essence of Mexican flavor: the lusciousness of slow-roasted tomatoes, the full-flavored spice of chiles, the fragrance of cilantro and the mellow sweetness of garlic. Rick Bayless, the country's leading progenitor of real Mexican cooking, writes the six salsa recipes with such detail and personality that even beginning cooks will turn out masterful creations.
The uniqueness of this book, though, is in the way these six salsas are used. Here they give their pizzazz to chile-glazed roast chicken, grilled pork tenderloin and seared sea scallops with jalapeño cream. Familiar Mexican favorites have always used salsas for vitality, and many are here, from tangy guacamole to tortilla soup and grilled chicken tacos. In Salsas That Cook, the magic of Mexico transcends all borders. More info
| Authentic Mexican 20th Anniversary Ed: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico
Americans have at last discovered Mexico's passion for exciting food. We've fallen in love with the great Mexican combination of rich, earthy flavors and casual, festive dining. But we don't begin to imagine how sumptuous and varied the cooking of Mexico really is.
After ten years of loving exploration, Rick Bayless, together with his wife, Deann, gave us Authentic Mexican, this now classic, easy-to-use compendium of our southern neighbor's cooking.
This all-embracing cookbook offers the full range of dishes, from poultry, meat, fish, rice, beans, and vegetables to eggs, snacks made of corn masa, tacos, turnovers, enchiladas and their relatives, tamales, and moles, ending with desserts, sweets, and beverages. There are irresistible finger foods such as Yucatecan marinated shrimp tacos and crispy cheese-filled masa turnovers; spicy corn chowder and chorizo sausage with melted cheese will start off a special dinner; you will find mole poblano, charcoal-grilled pork in red-chile adobo, and marinated fish steamed in banana leaves for those times when you want to celebrate; and exotic ice creams, caramel custards, and pies to top off any meal. There's even a section devoted to refreshing coolers, rich chocolate drinks, and a variety of tequila-laced cocktails.
The master recipes feature all the pointers you'll need for re-creating genuine Mexican textures and flavors in a North American kitchen. Menu suggestions and timing and advance-preparation tips make these dishes perfectly convenient for today's working families. And traditional and contemporary variations accompany each recipe, allowing the cook to substitute and be creative.
Rick and Deann Bayless traveled more than thirty-five thousand miles investigating the six distinct regions of Mexico and learning to prepare what they found. From town to town, recipe by recipe, they personally introduce you to Mexico's cooks, their kitchens, their markets, and their feasts.
If, like the rest of us, you have a growing love for Mexican food, the reliable recipes in this book and the caring, personal presentation by Rick and Deann Bayless will provide meal after meal of pure pleasure for your family and friends. More info