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Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Hello, hello! We are back in the saddle and hope you had a fantastic Holidays and a fresh start to 2017. We have been on a rollercoaster of change and highly focused on our book. Besides some adversities with Miss. Mildred (our stove), we are working on her retirement and the stove transition to make it happen. We are extremely grateful for all the great people who have supported us during this time, whether if it has been a word of encouragement, an e-mail, a phone call, or a donation funding for the new stove to come. To all of you, THANK YOU so much! On the other hand, It is taking a little longer than we expected, with permits and responses, but as soon we have the stove we will shout it out loud and proud!, and of course we will send you a photo.

In the meantime, dealing with our bi-polar weather and stove, soups have been my ultimate effort to save our dinners. One coil burner and a quick prep and 20-25 minutes in the kitchen, can yield the coziest, warmest, and most rewarding bowl of goodness to your table on any given dinner night. This classic velvety soup of leeks, potatoes, and cream has the flavor force of 1,000 horses. It always amazes me how so few ingredients treated with care can yield some of the best soups. Despite the classic version of this soup being one of my favorites, I’m giving this classic velvety soup a rustic and hearty twist. I find this soup much more comforting when its not blended all the way. So I reserved some sautéed leeks, and when it comes the time to pure, I used my immersion blender just a few times, enough to give the desired creaminess from the classic version, and leaving about half of the potato bites. These slight changes give great texture and hearty body to the soup. My irreverence, the addition of charred poblanos, I think is the best thing that could happen to this soup

Chiles Poblanos, as you know, when charred take on a smoky, and pleasant heat that when added to the soup create a spectacular synergy of flavors. Creamy texture small potato bites, soft buttery leeks with a smoky mildly spicy accent, a dollop of Greek yogurt, some sea salt, and a crusty bread on the side is all you need to make your dinner memorable.
Best 25 minutes invested in your kitchen. Hell yeah!

Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Serves 1 Mama bear, 1 Papa Bear, 2 cubs

3  large leeks washed, use just bright lime and white parts, sliced.
1  pound Maris piper or yellow wax potatoes, peeled and medium diced.
3  tablespoons butter
1  tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3  cups chicken stock
1  cup heavy cream*
1/4  teaspoon dry dill
3/4  teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2  poblano peppers, charred, skinned, de-seeded and cut into strips.

Garnish with:
Greek yogurt, dry or fresh dill, serve with toasted cheese crostinis or rustic bread.

* For vegan or non-dairy soup version, use about 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk and add just one clove of garlic when sweating the leeks, to tame the coconut flavor…it makes a delicious version!

Preparation:

1. Rinse and wash leeks. The best method I have find is to cut the green parts just above when the bright lime and white leek color starts. Cut the top hairs of the leeks and slice in half length wise. Rinse under running water holding from white tops to greenish ends. This will
prevent the sand and dirt getting into the white parts. Make sure you use a clean board to slice the leeks after washing them. Sand particles are very sneaky and they can ruin your soup, be alert. On a separate note, Save deep green parts, wash them, and cut into 3″ pieces, you can make a marvelous stock for feature soups.


2. Over medium heat, warm up a medium large pot, melt butter and oil, add leeks a pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of chicken stock. Toss well, cover pot with a lid, lower the heat and let them sweat for about 4-5 minutes.
3. When the leeks start softening, and still bright green, reserve about 4 tablespoons in a little ramekin set aside.
4.Add diced potatoes, chicken stock, black pepper and salt, bring it to a high simmer, cover pot and reduce heat. Cook for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are soft but still retain their shape.

5. Meantime charr the popblanos on the direct flame of your stove, use tonges in order to rotate and char them evenly.Set aside cover them with a plate and let them rest for 3-4 minutes. Te plate will create steam and will help when its time to remove the skins. With a spoon, gently scrape the skin, cut the top of the Chile, then slice and open. scrape all the seeds with the spoon and remove the veins. process to think slice or dice what ever you prefer. If you do not own a gas stove… As we do not…use a torch or rub the chiles with a tinny drop of oil, and use the oven broiler. watch them at all times because they can get from char to burnt on a blink of an eye!… Then proceed with the same method to de-vein and de-seed them.
6.Once potatoes are cooked to your desired consistency, add dill, and heavy cream. Stir, and lower the temperature about medium low. with the help of an immersion blender just pulse 2-3 times into the soup to add some creaminess. I leave about 1/2 of the potato diced and half pureed. If you do not have an immersion blender, grab a potato masher, or puree 1 cup of the soup in the blender, until smooth, then add to the soup and stir until well incorporated. At last add the poblanos, cut into strips or diced, and save some to garnish the soup when served. Let the soup warm up, do not let it boil. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and extra slices of charred poblanos. Enjoy!

Music Pairing:  Segundo, Pink Maritini – Je dis Oui!

 

 

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Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Course Soup
Cuisine wholesome
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Author Mariana McEnroe

Ingredients

  • 3 large leeks washed, use just bright lime and white parts, sliced.
  • 1 pound Maris piper or yellow wax potatoes peeled and medium diced.
  • 3 tablespoons un salted, butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cup heavy cream* * For vegan or non-dairy soup version, use about 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk and add just one clove of garlic when sweating the leeks, to tame the coconut flavor...it makes a delicious version!
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry dill
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh, ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium Poblano Peppers, charred, skinned, de-seeded and cut into strips.

Instructions

  1. 1. Rinse and wash leeks. The best method I have find is to cut the green parts just above when the bright lime and white leek color starts. Cut the top hairs of the leeks and slice in half length wise. Rinse under running water holding from white tops to greenish ends. This will

    prevent the sand and dirt getting into the white parts. Make sure you use a clean board to slice the leeks after washing them. Sand particles are very sneaky and they can ruin your soup, be alert. On a separate note, Save deep green parts, wash them, and cut into 3" pieces, you can make a marvelous stock for feature soups. 

  2. 2. Over medium heat, warm up a medium large pot, melt butter and oil, add leeks a pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of chicken stock. Toss well, cover pot with a lid, lower the heat and let them sweat for about 4-5 minutes.

  3. 3. When the leeks start softening, and still bright green, reserve about 4 tablespoons in a little ramekin set aside.

    4.Add diced potatoes, chicken stock, black pepper and salt, bring it to a high simmer, cover pot and reduce heat. Cook for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are soft but still retain their shape.

  4. 5.Once potatoes are cooked to your desired consistency, add dill, and heavy cream. Stir, and lower the temperature about medium low. with the help of an immersion blender just pulse 2-3 times into the soup to add some creaminess. I leave about 1/2 of the potato diced and half pureed. If you do not have an immersion blender, grab a potato masher, or puree 1 cup of the soup in the blender, until smooth, then add to the soup and stir until well incorporated. At last add the poblanos, cut into strips or diced, and save some to garnish the soup when served. Let the soup warm up, do not let it boil. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and extra slices of charred poblanos. Enjoy!

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Enfrijoladas

Enfrijoladas_easy-to-make-weekday-diner

Enfrijoladas are one of the most beloved humble dishes made out of beans in Mexico. I almost can imagine some Mexican grandma in a hurry trying to make a meal with ingredients for two that will serve four or six with the beans she had. So Bad-a-bim! …she created a sauce, in order to stretch the beans, for all to eat. Aren’t these kinds of recipes the ones that everybody loves the most?…Serendipity in the kitchen can work love spells, just like this recipe.

Imagine fresh corn tortillas smothered in a smooth velvety bean sauce that has been seasoned and tinted with dry chiles. This dish features smokey anchos and a bright flavor guajillo chiles, sauteed onions and a couple of garlic cloves, all seasoned and blended to create a light and velvety bean sauce. Enfrijoladas are the cousins of enchiladas, only lighter. This velvety sauce, has a mild spice flavor, that in combination with the earthy and creamy bean texture make the most luscious bean sauce.

Enfrijoladas are typically filled with a mild creamy cheese called requeson, which would be the Mexican ricotta, creamy morsels of soft cheese mixed with crisp diced onions. Many other fillings are welcomed for a heartier meal like shredded roasted chicken, chorizo, spinach and cheese, zucchini, mushrooms, the combinations are endless. Put a sunny side up egg on it and call it breakfast!,
I personally like them served straight up. I love the flavor of the bean sauce. The chiles, onions, and garlic cloves season the creamy beans with out compromising the bean flavor; earthy, mild spicy, light and smooth. If you are feeling adventurous add some extra crunch and sprinkle some pork skin crumbs (chicharrones), to die for.

For me these bean cousins of enchiladas are my simple pleasure, beans, queso fresco, my mucha muchacha salsa, avocado, and a dollop of crema that will make me happy any day! Summer or winter, rain or shine.

Just make them, Enfrijoladas are a sure love at first bite, extremely easy to make, wether you make them as a casserole or plate them as you go, this
simple ingredients treated with a little extra love, will always “madly” love you back!
Enjoy!

Enfrijoladas_Ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Enfrijoladas

2 cups cooked pinto beans*
2 cups bean broth
1 cup chicken stock or water
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 medium chile ancho, de-seeded and tail removed
2 long chile guajillo, de-seeded and tail removed
½ cup diced white onion
2 large garlic cloves
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup extra of water or milk to adjust the bean sauce consistency.

16 corn tortillas, 5” regular store bought.
For home made corn tortillas** use about a walnut size dough ball to make a 5”round
2-3 tablespoons sunflower oil

For the filling:

½ pound queso requeson(mexican ricotta), queso fresco doble crema, or crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup small diced red onion
salt to taste.

Garnish with:

Queso Cotija
Crema Mexicana
Avocado Slices
Salsa Mucha Muchacha recipe here
Quick pickled Red onions:
Thinly slice ½ medium red onion, rinse under running water really well. Place onion slices in a small bowl, squeeze ½ lime, add a generous pinch of sea salt, a pinch of dry oregano and 2-3 tablespoons of water.

*How to cook your beans tutorial
**How to make homemade corn tortillas tutorial

Preparation Method:

1.On a large sauce pan, over medium heat, warm up the oil. Add the pieces of dry chiles, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, saute until onions are softened, dry chiles have a bright color, and slight blistered. At this point add the cooked beans along with the bean broth, and chicken stock. Bring to boil and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the dry chiles look re-hydrated and plumped.

2.Set beans aside cover for 5 minutes. Place the sauteed beans, onions chiles into a blender.
Remember to always be extra careful when transferring hot liquids into a blender. You can also use an immersion blender, or a food processor to make this sauce, although I’ve found that the blender works best to leave a smooth airy velvety sauce.

3.Transfer back the sauce into the sauce pan, keep it warm at the lowest temperature stirring now and then. Taste, and adjust for salt, or liquid if to thick. To test thickness submerge a wood spoon on the sauce, and run your finger over the back of the spoon. If the two sides remain separated, the sauce is on point. This bean sauce, should feel smooth creamy but not overly thick. If to thick add a bit more water, or milk. If it is to thin, cook up some of the liquid whisking at all times.

4.Warm up each tortilla by quick frying in a little oil, you want them soft and playable, but with a little color. Gently submerge each tortilla into the warm bean sauce. Place them into a platter fill them with the requeson-onion mixture (mexican ricotta cheese) and fold them in half or into fourths like you would do with a crepe. Once you have them all folded keep them warm in the oven. Reheat the reminder of the bean sauce and add a little more milk or water to adjust consistency.

5.Serve 3-4 Enfrijoladas per plate and ladle one or two spoonfuls of the bean sauce on top, add a dollop or squeeze some crema, sprinkle the cotija cheese, garnish with avocado and red onions…and a little drizzle of “that” Salsa Mucha muchacha

A comer!…Enjoy!

Enfrijoladas_How-to-make-enfrijoladas_step-by-step_Yes,-more-please!Enfrijoladas_Easy-Mexican-Cooking

A few drops of my mucha muchacha salsa… Mmmm!

Enfrijoladas_Yes,-more-please!

Let’s cook!

Music pairing: Bonito – by Jarabe de Palo

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Enfrijoladas

Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Pinto beans
  • 2 cups Bean broth
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons Sunflower oil
  • 1 medium Chile ancho de-seeded and tail removed
  • 2 long Chiles Guajillo de-seeded and tail removed
  • 1/2 cup white onion diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup extra water or milk to adjust the sauce consistency
  • 16 pieces corn tortillas home made will be amazing1
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sunflower oil to slightly pan fry the tortillas

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 lbs. Queso Requeson (Mexican Ricotta), queso fresco doble crema OR goat cheese.
  • 1/4 cup red onion small diced
  • Salt to taste

Garnish with:

  • Queso cotija
  • Crema Mexicana
  • Avocado slices
  • Quick pickled red onions

Instructions

  1. 1.On a large sauce pan, over medium heat, warm up the oil. Add the pieces of dry chiles, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, saute until onions are softened, dry chiles have a bright color, and slight blistered. At this point add the cooked beans along with the bean broth, and chicken stock. Bring to boil and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the dry chiles look re-hydrated and plumped.

    2.Set beans aside cover for 5 minutes. Place the sauteed beans, onions chiles into a blender.

    Remember to always be extra careful when transferring hot liquids into a blender. You can also use an immersion blender, or a food processor to make this sauce, although I’ve found that the blender works best to leave a smooth airy velvety sauce.

    3.Transfer back the sauce into the sauce pan, keep it warm at the lowest temperature stirring now and then. Taste, and adjust for salt, or liquid if to thick. To test thickness submerge a wood spoon on the sauce, and run your finger over the back of the spoon. If the two sides remain separated, the sauce is on point. This bean sauce, should feel smooth creamy but not overly thick. If to thick add a bit more water, or milk. If it is to thin, cook up some of the liquid whisking at all times.

    4.Warm up each tortilla by quick frying in a little oil, you want them soft and playable, but with a little color. Gently submerge each tortilla into the warm bean sauce. Place them into a platter fill them with the requeson-onion mixture (mexican ricotta cheese) and fold them in half or into fourths like you would do with a crepe. Once you have them all folded keep them warm in the oven. Reheat the reminder of the bean sauce and add a little more milk or water to adjust consistency.

    5.Serve 3-4 Enfrijoladas per plate and ladle one or two spoonfuls of the bean sauce on top, add a dollop or squeeze some crema, sprinkle the cotija cheese, garnish with avocado and red onions…and a little drizzle of “that” Salsa Mucha muchacha…

    A comer!…Enjoy!

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Oaxacan Frittata

Oaxacan-Frittata_Yes,-more-please!

Frittatas are the best way to transform simple ingredients into a magnificent meal. It’s the goodness of pie without the crust. With their lightly crusty edges, creamy soft centers, easy comfort, and the fact that almost every ingredient can play and sing along embedded in custardy creamy eggs, frittatas are the perfect Summer companion, and this Oaxacan Frittata is the one you want this summer by your side.

This Frittata is all about the Oaxacan Jewel tomatoes I grew in my little garden. I love how the combination of custardy eggs and “Quesillo” a.k.a Oaxaca Cheese, compliment the flavor of the tomatoes with out masking them. Even when cooked, the tomatoes hold their fresh and juicy flavor. The melted strings of Oaxacan cheese along with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt make this Frittata the object of my Summer affection.

A Frittata for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, under-dressed, over-dressed, with a glass of Texas Rose’ wine or a glass of milk, crusty artisanal bread or a simple green salad, warm or cold, one gorgeous ingredient or with leftovers from your vegetable basket, a Frittata is a bare necessity,  a recipe you should always have under your sleeve.

Enjoy the Summer!

Oaxacan-Frittata-Ingredients

Oaxacan-Frittata-Stringy-Cheese--quesillo-Queso-Oaxaca

Oaxacan Frittata

A few tricks and bits, like using a cast iron skillet is a must, it makes for an evenly cooked frittata along with a good drizzle of oil in combination with butter to crisp up the frittata’s bottom and edges.
When frittatas are cooked slow and at low temperature in the oven or on the stove top it produces the most magical situation; a crusty bottom and edges while keeping the top and center creamy. Always cover with a lid if you want to avoid the flipping. If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

Serves 4 hungry gardeners

1-1/2 lb Heirloom tomatoes I used a combination of Oaxacan Jewel “hint the recipe name”, Cherokee, and Cherry tomatoes
2-3 green Mexican onions, if using scallions use 4 including the white part
1 serrano, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Sunflower oil
1 tablespoon butter

8-10 eggs
1/3 cup Mexican Crema, Oaxaca style if possible, or Crème Fraîche will do to.
2 cups shredded Oaxacan cheese, aka quesillo
1-2 fresh sprigs of Oregano remove leaves, and roughly chop.
1 fresh sprig of Epazote, or/ Mexican Marigold Mint. Remove leaves, and roughly chop.
Sea salt and Black pepper to season

 

Cooking Preparation:

1. Cut the tomatoes.
I like to cut each tomatoe differently so you and your guests can recognize each tomatoe when is cooked. Besides, the fact it looks more appetizing, they hold their shape better when cooked, and by removing some of the fleshy seeds your frittata will not get soggy. So, I sliced the large tomatoes, halved the cherry tomatoes, and cut in wedges, and removed the fleshy seeds on the the medium size cherokees.

Oaxacan-Frittata-Heirloom-Tomatoes
2. In a 9″ cast Iron pan quick sauté green onions, garlic, and serrano until bright green. Set aside to stop cooking.
3. Quick sauté the tomatoes. Set them aside.
4. Whisk the eggs, crema, black pepper a pinch of sea salt, sprinkle some of the herbs.

Egg-Frittata_Yes-More-please!
5. Into the cast Iron pan, add a drizzle of sunflower oil, a layer of half of the tomatoes, 2/3 of the sredded oaxacan cheese and half of the custard. Then add the rest of the tomatoes, on an even layer, and top with the rest of the Oaxaca Cheese sprinkle the rest of the herbs, crank some fresh black pepper, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Oaxacan-Frittata_Easy-Comfort-Yes,-more-please!
6.Place the frittata in the oven, and bake at 325F for 12-15 minutes or until top and center is just set but slightly giggly. Remove from oven and cover for a few minutes. The remainder heat will cook the egg center, with out over cooking the edges.

 If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, watch at all times to avoid  burning, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

Oaxacan-Frittata-Ready-for-the-Oven
7. Let Frittata set for 5- 10 minutes before serving, it will help set and you can slice it easily. Serve along with a green salad, crusty bread, or what ever rocks your boat, Enjoy!

Oaxacan-Mexican-Frittata_Yes,-more-please!

Oaxacan Summer Frittata

Music Pairing: Jeepers Creepers 1958 Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden

One of  the best versions out there, ever recorded!

Print

Oaxacan Frittata

www.yes-moreplease.com

A few tricks and bits, like using a cast iron skillet is a must, it makes for an evenly cooked frittata along with a good drizzle of oil in combination with butter to crisp up the frittata’s bottom and edges.

When frittatas are cooked slow and at low temperature in the oven or on the stove top it produces the most magical situation; a crusty bottom and edges while keeping the top and center creamy. Always cover with a lid if you want to avoid the flipping. If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

Course Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican-Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 Hungry gardeners!

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lbs. Heirloom tomatoes, I used: Oaxacan Jewel, Cherokee, sungold and cherry tomatoes.
  • 2-3 Green Onions, finelly sliced, include the green parts
  • 1 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Sunflower Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 8-10 large farm eggs
  • 1/3 cup Mexican Crema, or Crème Fraîche will do.
  • 2 cups Oaxacan cheese aka quesillo, shredded
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh Oregano, remove leaves,and roughly chop.
  • 1 sprig fresh Epazote, remove leaves,and roughly chop.
  • Sea salt and Black Pepper, for season.

Instructions

  1. 1. Cut the tomatoes.I like to cut each tomatoe differently so you and your guests can recognize each tomatoe when is cooked. Besides, the fact it looks more appetizing, they hold their shape better when cooked, and by removing some of the fleshy seeds your frittata will not get soggy. So, I sliced the large tomatoes, halved the cherry tomatoes, and cut in wedges, and removed the fleshy seeds on the the medium size cherokees.

    2. In a 9″ cast Iron pan quick sauté green onions, garlic, and serrano until bright green. Set aside to stop cooking.

    3. Quick sauté the tomatoes. Set them aside.

    4. Whisk the eggs, crema, black pepper a pinch of sea salt, sprinkle some of the herbs.

    5. Into the cast Iron pan, add a drizzle of sunflower oil, a layer of half of the tomatoes, 2/3 of the sredded oaxacan cheese and half of the custard. Then add the rest of the tomatoes, on an even layer, and top with the rest of the Oaxaca Cheese sprinkle the rest of the herbs, crank some fresh black pepper, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.

    6.Place the frittata in the oven, and bake at 325F for 12-15 minutes or until top and center is just set but slightly giggly. Remove from oven and cover for a few minutes. The remainder heat will cook the egg center, with out over cooking the edges.

    If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, watch at all times to avoid burning, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

    7. Let the Frittata set for 5- 10 minutes before serving, it will help set and you can slice it easily. Serve along with a green salad, crusty bread, or what ever rocks your boat, Enjoy!

    Happy cooking!

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Pan de Cazón Campeche México

Pan-de-Cazon-Campechano_Yes,-more-please!

The first time I had Pan de Cazón in Campeche México it was a revelation to me.
I was traveling in Mexico with two of my best friends and architecture colleagues back in our student days, circa 1998. We were in Campeche on a very honorable mission of developing a great project for the City: The “Biblioteca Universo Maya” -“Mayan Universe Library”. The architectural dream project of every student. A constructive binomial, a Church and Monastery, from the sixteenth century that was going to hold the biggest collection of Mayan information in Mexico. I remember the first day in the city we met people and acquired information, details, measurements, and blue prints. We needed every single piece of information in order to start the project.
Between meetings and planning, the morning went fast and soon enough it was lunch time- “comida”. In the blink of an eye we were guided to a restaurant to cool down. I remember not coping well with the humid hot weather of this beautiful city. Hungry and thirsty, we sat at a restaurant and started receiving some recommendations from the waiter and the friend who brought us. They both made the same recommendation: “Pan de Cazón”.

I heard that, and started reading the description from the menu. Soon I was confused. To be honest the whole combination of ingredients sounded a little cacophonous to me. Pan means “bread” and Cazón is the “flesh from a little shark”, so “fish”. My overheated brain could not elaborate an objective idea of what this dish meant. Our friend was very enthusiastic about the idea of us trying the most iconic dishes from the city. I listened to her description and agreed to try something new.
To my pleasant surprise when the plate arrived I was hit with the most delicious aroma of the warm tomato sauce. The plate was layered with a short stack of tortillas covered with the bright aromatic and silky orange color sauce. A charred green habanero garnished the top of the stack like the cherry on top of a cake, loud and proud, and the perky steam insinuating bit me. So as I dug into it… I can see the layers of tortilla, black beans and sauteed fleshy white fish. My first bite confirmed what I suspected. This “Pan de Cazón” was a harmonious and a conspicuous ceremony of ingredients aligned in such a way that it was absolutely delicious.

Why? Well, to describe the dish in detail, imagine four freshly handmade corn tortillas slightly fried, smothered with silky herbaceous loosely refried black beans (frijoles colados), flaky, slightly smoky, juicy, and tender white fish sauteed with onions and tomato; all stacked into a four tortilla tower, and then sauced generously with probably one of the world’s earliest cooked tomato sauces. Chiltomate is a rustic sauce, made with the simplest ingredients tomato, onions, and chile. Pure pre-conquest Mayan ingredients, roasted, crushed, seasoned with sea salt and sieved until it yielded the most pure, silky, fruity, honest and yet bold tomato sauce.
For an architect and a cook this was a glorious construction of flavor. With my fist bite I understood Campeche. Pre-conquest flavors, elevated on a simple harmonious way. I think from that day and the next 10 days we stayed in the city, I ordered Pan de Cazon at least once a day. Yes, because you can have Pan de Cazón for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. In my Campeche, you can.

How-to-make-pan-de-Cazon,-Peceta-Pan-de-Cazon

Now, Why you would want to make this dish? I will give you one good enough reason: “People, Friends, Cooks, Foodies, Health nuts, Mommas and Papas, Students, PLEASE! Look for variety in your fish. Eating salmon, tuna, the same fish over and over can make for a monotonous cuisine and also is not healthy for our oceans. Explore other fish sizes, ranges, flavors and preparations, expect great rewards!

Fish do not have to be bland, or muted, or fried, smothered in batter, ketchup and tartar sauce, to taste good. I just have to be fresh. Campechanos have a saying “when fish smells of tastes like fish do not eat it” period. Get the freshest fish you can, search a good source in your city. If you are land locked as I am here in Texas far away from the coast, investigate local markets for the less traveled fish you can find.

Salsa-Chiltomate_Yes,-more-please

Based on this memory I tried to recreate the recipe. The way I remembered, the way I wanted it to taste. I read some recipes but the flavor profile do not resembled of what I tasted there. I had to rely on my tastebuds memory to recreate the recipe. Fifteen years have gone by since I was in Campeche, and if my memory is faithful I think I have achieved a close match. Apologies to all the amazing Campechanos Cooks, is not my intention to disrespect the recipe, it is in fact the opposite to make it as close in flavor as I can with what I have in this location, pure Genius Loci.

I have been cooking in the states for a long time, and I have found that sometimes even if you are using the correct ingredients, food, ingredients and recipes do not taste the same. And of course they don’t! they never will. Too many variables and a different locus. I have found that for example Epazote does not taste fresh and fragrant when it has been refrigerated in transport to the market. Searching for that same flavor, I have noticed that a native herb from texas “Texas Marigold” or “Mexican Mint Marigold”(as some people call it here in Texas) this herb, in combination with dry oregano, tastes very similar to fresh Mexican epazote. And that makes me happier than buying a refrigerated herb. When I taste and recognize the flavor in my taste buds memory and it translates into the food or dish I’m trying to recreate I feel like I hit the jackpot!

I have written some of the substitutions, or interchanging ingredients, just in case that like me, you are in another part of the world and in need to make those substitutions. And also the original herb to be used if you are in the right geographical place to traditionally make it.

What became of the Biblioteca Universo Maya ? Well, we worked on the project for about 6 months, prepared a presentation for the Campeche Governor, went back to Campeche and make the presentation. Proudly one of the best projects we ever made together. Unfortunately the project still on the back burner. Maybe one of these days when the state budget allows it it will be built. Could be that the best is yet to come…Right? Igor, Juan Pablo?…will see.

This recipe is fairly simple. Besides the different components, all of them are very easy to prepare. So hold on tight and get your cooking mojo going because after tasting this Pan de Cazón you are going to be having a truly Austin via Campeche dish!
Enjoy!

Pan-de-Cazon-ingredients

Pan de Cazón Campeche México

Serves 4 or 2 hungry Campechanos

16 –  4”-5” in diameter homemade corn tortillas preferable,*click here for tortilla recipe and tutorial
1 lb. Cazon, aka Dogfish, or Red Snapper, Cod or Halibut, grilled over wood or natural charco preferable, or poached as recipe follows.
2 cups black beans
3 cups Chiltomate sauce, recipe follows.

Garnish with:
Charred habaneros
Avocado slices
Pickled red onions

Originally Pan de Cazon is served with “Aguacate de Agua”. Which its fruitier and less oily. Its hard to find this type of avocado here in Texas, but I believe that avocado Haas will do great.

Preparation Method:

1. Start by preparing the quick pickled onions:

Red-Pickled-Onions-and-Habaneros

Red Pickled Onions

1 medium red onion
the juice of 1 medium lime
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon Sea salt
1 habanero small diced

Thinly slice the red onions, rinse them well under cold water. Place them on a small bowl add the rest of the ingredients toss well with the help of two forks, let them marinate for at least 20-30 minutes.

2. Prepare the fish:

Poaching-Fish_Pan-de-Cazon_Campeche

Poached white Fish with Texas Mexican Mint

1 lb. Pan de Cazón aka Dogfish, or Red Snapper, Cod or Halibut will work too.
1 small onion, half finely chopped, half on wedges
2 garlic cloves halved, 2 garlic cloves diced
1 medium tomato diced
6-8 Texas Marigold fresh leaves or 2-3 fresh epazote leaves.

On a small pan place the fresh fish fillet, along with ½ white onion in wedges, 2-3 Texas marigold sprigs, a pinch of oregano, one garlic, ½ teaspoon sea salt and 2 cups of water. Cover with a lid bring to a barely simmer, and cook until the flesh is white about 5-7 minutes. Remove the lid every now and then and baste the fish with its own broth. Once is cooked, carefully transfer the fish to a plate and save the broth. You will use it into the sauce and when sauteing the fish.

On a saute pan, heat up 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, add the other half diced onions. Sweat the onions,add diced garlic, add diced tomatoes, salt and the marigold leaves torn into pieces. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the shredded fish, toss well and add about ½ cup of the broth in which the fish was cooked in. Briefly cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Set aside.

Cazon-salteado_Yes,-more-please!

3. Refried Black Beans:

Re-fry 2 cups of black beans along with ½ diced white onion, and 5-6 leaves of epazote or Texas Marigold Mint. Add extra bean broth to leave the beans on a lose consistency. If you need instructions on how to make your black beans check my “Mexican Bean Manifesto”

4. For the Chiltomate Sauce:

Salsa-Chiltomate_Yes,-more-please

Chiltomate-Tomato Sauce

2 pounds Roma tomatoes
½ small white onion
1 habanero pepper
1 medium garlic clove
12-16 medium-large leaves of fresh Texas Marigold or 4-5 Fresh epazote leaves, and omit oregano.
2 pinches of dry mexican oregano, rubb it into your fingers to pulverize and unlock its aroma.
½ teaspoon to a teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon sunflower oil

The juice of ½ an orange and 1/4 teaspoon of orange zest*optional, the original dish do not includes the orange juice or zest. The tomatoes I bought where a bit lacking in sweetness and fragrance, so I decided to enhance the fruity flavor by using some citrus. Use this ingredient upon the quality of tomatoes you are using.

Roast the tomatoes, onion, habanero on a baking pan in a 450F degree oven for about 8-12 minutes or until the tomatoes are chard and blistered, and onions have charred edges.
Using a fork and a knife de-seed and devein the habanero. Be very careful not to touch the habanero directly with your hands. This chile is extremely spicy and all the concentrated heat is on the seeds. So use a fork and a knife and dissect the chile. Leave the charred skin on.

Place the roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, de-seeded deveined habanero and the rest of the ingredients on a blender until well pureed. Sieve the pure and add about ¾ cup of the fish stock to wash the reminders of the puree. This will produce the most silky and smooth sauce, the sieving step is very important because it will remove the tomato seeds and skins.

In a small pot heat up the sunflower oil and add the chiltomate puree. Expect splattering. Lower the heat and bring the sauce to a slow simmer. Cook and reduce liquids for about 6-8 minutes until you have a smooth silky tomato sauce. If the sauce is to watery cook it for a little longer, if is to thick add a bit more of the fish stock. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary.

Sieving-the-Chiltomate-salsa_Pan-de-Cazon

5. Quick pan fry the tortillas,

On a pan add a drizzle of sunflower or corn oil, until slightly toasty but pliable.

Assembling the Pan de Cazon:

Layers-Pan-de-Cazon_Recipe-from-Campeche

Once you have all the components prepared and warm,
Start by layering on a plate a pan fried tortilla, evenly spread a tablespoon of the refried black beans. Then add 1-2 tablespoons of the sauteed fish on an even layer. Ladle a tablespoon of the Tomato sauce over the fish, and repeat this layer sequence two more times. Finish the tower with a tortilla. You will have 4 tortilla layers total. If serving multiple plates assemble all the towers at the same time, place them in the oven to keep warm. Keep the tomato sauce warm. Right before serving baste each tower with about 1 cup of the piping hot chiltomate sauce. Garnish with avocado, pickled onions and do not forget the cherry on the top: the charred habanero!
Enjoy!

Pan-de-Cazon_Yes-more-please!

Pan de cazón_Campeche_Yes, more please!

Pan-de-Cazon_Campeche_Traditional-Mexican-Cooking_Yes,-more-please!

Buen Provecho!

Music Pairing: Jarabe Criollo – Campeche

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