Hola! From New York City
In Australia we have the lion’s share of Asian cuisines – think Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai, Japanese, Indian. But last year I was lucky enough to visit New York City where there’s a gamut of South American food that isn’t so common in Australia. I was really keen to get my head around Mexican so it was very convenient to have a taqueria / taquileria (taco / tequila shop!) a block from our apartment. There we sampled a wonderful array of ensalades, ceviches, quesadillas and, of course, tacos that we enjoyed so much we went back another two times. We’ve tried to replicate a few dishes at home without relying on Old El Paso and I’d like to share with you some winners.
First a little bit about Mexican supplies. Chipotle (pronounced chee-poht-lay) chilli (above left) is a smoked-dried jalapeno and a main component in adobo sauce and the mayonnaise for the char-grilled corn. They may be a little hard to come by, even at the good delis so I’ve been using Herbie’s Spices to have packets (5-6 chillies in each) home delivered. If you’d rather not make your own adobo sauce and your local deli doesn’t stock cans of it, USA Foods sells cans of chipotle chilli in adobo sauce. You’ll need to whiz the contents of the can with the juice of a lime to make the Chipotle Adobo Sauce required for the quesadillas below. They also have sell dried chipotle chilli too.
Kefalograviera is a hard sheep’s milk cheese popular in Greek cooking. If your local deli doesn’t sell it Parmesan makes a fine replacement.
I’ve never wanted to eat corn more than when I tried a rendition of this Mexican dish in a Cuban (!) restaurant in NYC. So incredibly moreish; hot, sweet, salty and smoky. I lay out the corn, mayo, cheese and spice seasoning and let everyone assemble their cob themselves, adjusting the flavours to suit.
If you are wary of chilli heat, you may like to omit the spice seasoning. The chipotle mayonnaise will be enough of an introduction. But I would recommend adding the zest of 2 limes to the chipotle mayonnaise for extra zing without the extra heat that the spice seasoning would have provided.
8 full-sized corncobs, husks removed
1 cup chipotle mayonnaise (recipe below)
200g kefalograviera cheese, finely grated
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted
2 tsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds) toasted
Zest of 2 limes, plus wedges to serve
2 dried pasilla chillies (above right), seeds removed and toasted
5 dried cipotle chillies, torn into pieces
3 egg yolks
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs (apple) cider vinegar
400 ml sunflower oil
Start with the chipotle mayonnaise. Soak the chipotle chillies in 1 cup of warm water for 20 minutes. Drain and whiz in a food processor until smooth. Set aside. Blend yolks, lime juice and vinegar, then with the motor running, add the oil in a slow and steady stream and whiz to form a smooth mayonnaise. Add blended chillies. Will store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Then bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook corn for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and allow to cool. Meanwhile get a start on the spice seasoning if you are game. Grind the cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin seeds, pepitas, zest and pasilla chilli in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to a coarse powder.
Heat a large bbq char grill or char grill pan on medium-high heat. Grill corn for 6-8 minutes, turning as each section lightly blackens. Remove from the grill. If your corn has been pre-trimmed you may need to insert a skewer into one end of the corn to act as a handle.
Brush with the chipotle mayonnaise, roll in the cheese and sprinkle with the spice seasoning and lime juice from wedges.
Chorizo & Potato Quesadillas
While it might look cumbersome, the great thing about this recipe is that you can prepare everything in advance and then when you are ready to eat, pull out the main components (potato, chorizo & chipotle adobo sauce) and start assembling your quesadilla in the frypan.
2 large Desiree potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 fresh bay leaves
1L (4 cups) chicken stock
½ bunch flat leaf parsley
2 large chorizo, skin removed and cubed
1 cup chipotle chilli adobo sauce (recipe below)
300g cheddar cheese, grated
8 large corn tortillas
100g kefalograviera cheese, finely grated
Chipotle Adobo Sauce
Makes approximately 1 cup
8 medium dried chipotle chillies, de-stemmed and split lengthways
1/3 cup brown onion, sliced
5 tbs (apple) cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup tomato sauce
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp dried cumin
¼ tsp dried oregano
3 cups water
Juice of 1 lime
Start with the adobo sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan over very low heat combine all the ingredients, except the lime juice, and simmer without the lid for up to 2 hours or until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup and the chillies are very soft. Add the liquid, lime juice and chillies to a food processor and whiz until smooth. Press through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. The sauce will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
While the adobo sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the potato, bay, stock and parsley stalks (reserving the leaves) in a casserole. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then cover and bake for 50-60 minutes until tender. Remove the potato to cool.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
Now it’s time to assemble the quesadillas. You will be cooking these one at a time. Place a clean frypan over medium heat and lay one tortilla on the base. Sprinkle one quarter of the cheddar cheese over the top. Then crumble the potato over, then top with the chorizo and reserved parsley leaves and top with another tortilla. Pan-fry the quesadilla for 3 minutes on each side or until the tortilla is golden.
Cut into wedges, drizzle with chipotle adobo sauce and sprinkle with kefalograviera.
Adapted from delicious. magazineShare this on: