Mexico-One Plate at a Time
by Rick Bayless

Scribner Publishers (available at www.fronterakitchens.com)
Acclaimed as America's foremost proponent of Mexico¹s diverse cuisine, Rick Bayless is chef and co-owner of Chicago¹s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. Featuring abundant fresh vegetables, this latest of four cookbooks features creative and rather easy versions of classic Mexican dishes. For reservations at the Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, call (312) 661-1434.

Mexican-Style Zucchini Tacos

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped (6 to 8 Italian-plum or 2 medium- large round)
  • 2 large fresh poblano chiles
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about one ear of corn)
  • 4 medium zucchini cut into 1/2" cubes (about 1 1/2 pounds or 5 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup homemade crème frâiche or heavy cream
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup Mexican queso fresco or other crumbly fresh cheese-like salted, pressed farmer's cheese or feta
  • 24 fresh, warm corn tortillas

    Preparing the flavor base: Measure the oil into a large, 12" skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until richly browned, about 8 minutes. While the onion is cooking, coarsely puree the tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Add the garlic to the browned onion, cook 1 minute, stirring, then add the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    Roasting the chiles: Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or on a sheet 4" below a very hot broiler, turning regularly until the skin has blistered and blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes for open flame, about 10 minutes for a broiler. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. Rub off the blackened skin then pull out the stem and seed pod. Rinse briefly to remove stray seeds and bits of skin. Slice into 1/2" strips.
    Finishing the dish: Uncover the skillet and raise the heat to medium-high. Stir in the poblanos, corn, zucchini, cilantro and the creme fraiche. Cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is crisp-tender and the liquid has thickened enough to coat the vegetables nicely, about 8 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Serve in a decorative bowl, sprinkle with the crumbled cheese and pass the hot tortillas separately for do-it-yourself tacos. Serves 6 (makes about 6 cups for 24 tacos).

  • Frontera Kitchens

    Recipe Seeds: Coriander/Cilantro, Garlic, Hot Chile Peppers, Onion Sets, Onions, Plum Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Zucchini-Type Summer Squash

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