Spicy summer treats
Chilaquiles is a sort of top-of-the-stove tortilla casserole. In its simplest form, it’s a freshly made salsa with stir fried tortillas. Sometimes eggs and chicken are also added. The salsa can be red or green; even thick black beans may be used. I favour microwave-toasted tortillas, but baked tortilla chips or nachos will do too. Serve right after you’ve stirred in the chips, because if they are not fried, they might get soggy.
What you need...
One kg tomatoes
1 jalapeño chile, or 2 serranos, seeded for a milder sauce and chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, halved
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 to 1 cup water, chicken or vegetable stock, as needed
Salt to taste
1 large chicken breast, poached and shredded (about 2 cups shredded meat)
8 corn tortillas, toasted and coarsely broken up, or 2 cups nachos
For the garnish:
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 small red or white onion, cut into thick rings
1. Combine the tomatoes, chillies, onion and garlic and blend.
2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet or a wide saucepan over medium-high heat, and add a drop of the puree. It should sizzle. Add all of the tomato puree, and cook, stirring, for about five to ten minutes, until the sauce darkens, thickens and begins to stick to the pan. Add water or stock if the mixture seems dry, and season to taste with salt. Turn the heat to low, and simmer, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, until the sauce coats the front and back of a spoon. Taste and adjust salt.
3. Stir in the chicken and heat through. Stir in the tortilla chips or pieces, stir together for a half minute, and remove from the heat. Sprinkle the cheese, cilantro and sliced onion over the top, and serve.
Yield: Serves four.
What you need...
For the salad:
1 whole chicken breast , poached and shredded (4 cups shredded chicken)
Salt and pepper
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup slivered fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 red bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
2 cups mung bean sprouts or sunflower sprouts
1 romaine lettuce, leaves separated
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
For the dressing:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
Pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
1. Place the chicken in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Add the white part of the scallions, the mint, cilantro, red pepper, minced chile pepper and sprouts. Toss together.
2. Combine the lime juice, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and cayenne. Stir together. Add the peanut butter, and combine well. Whisk in the buttermilk. Taste and adjust seasonings.
3. Line a platter with the lettuce leaves. Toss the chicken mixture with the dressing, and arrange over the lettuce. Sprinkle the peanuts and the scallion greens over the top, and serve.
Yield: Serves four to six.
The New York Times