Talk Food Festival: Rick Bayless

Posted on Jan 27, 2014 10:45am

Award-winning chef, restaurateur, and author, Rick Bayless whipped up his signature authentic Mexican cuisine for the ladies.  He made his Tacos of Tomatillos and Roasted New Potato Salad. Here are all the recipes from today's show.

TACOS OF TOMATILLO CHICKEN With Wilted Greens and Fresh Cheese

Tacos de Pollo en Salsa Verde

Makes about 3 cups of filling, enough for 12 tacos

For 1 1/4 cups Essential Simmered Tomatillo-Serrano Sauce:

8 ounces (5 to 6 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed

Fresh serrano chiles to taste (roughly 2), stemmed

1 1/2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped

1 cup chicken broth

3 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro

Salt, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, depending on the saltiness of the broth

12 corn tortillas (plus a few extra, in case some break)

2 cups firmly-packed, sliced chard leaves, lamb's quarters (quelites), sliced amaranth greens (quintoniles), purslane (verdolagas; remove thick bottom stems), even spinach (pieces should be about 1/2 inch wide and no more than 2 inches long)

1 1/3 cups cooked, coarsely shredded chicken (you'll need, for instance, 1 very large chicken breast for this amount)

1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or pressed salted farmer's cheese

  1. Making 1 1/4 cups of Essential Simmered Tomatillo-Serrano Sauce. Roast the tomatillos and chiles on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened and soft on one side, 5 to 6 minutes, then turn them over and roast the other side. Transfer (including all juices) to a food processor or blender.  

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large (10- to 12-inch) heavy skillet over medium, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until deep golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook 1 minute, then scrape into the food processor or blender. Process to a medium-coarse puree.


Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet and set over medium-high. Add the puree all at once and stir for about 5 minutes, until noticeably darker and thick. Stir in the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low for 10 minutes. (The sauce will be a little soupy.) Stir in the cilantro and generously season with salt.

  1. Finishing the dish. Set up a steamer (a vegetable steamer in a large saucepan filled with 1/2 inch of water works well); heat to a boil. Wrap the tortillas in a heavy kitchen towel, lay in the steamer and cover with a tight lid. Boil 1 minute, turn off the heat and let stand without opening the steamer for 15 minutes.

Bring the sauce to a boil and add the greens.  When the mixture returns to a boil, stir in the cooked chicken and simmer until the greens are done (lamb's quarters will take the longest, about 5 minutes; spinach, the least amount of time, about 2 minutes).  Taste and season with additional salt, if necessary.

The moment you're ready to serve, make the tacos one at a time, spooning a portion of the filling into a warm tortilla, sprinkling on the cheese and folding it over. As with all tacos, they are informal morsels, intended to be filled, folded and eaten on the spot.

Advance Preparation:  The tomatillo-serrano sauce will keep nicely for several days in the refrigerator covered; reheat it, then finish Step 2.


Mustard Greens Soup with Poblano and Almond

Crema de Quelites de Mostaza, Chile Poblano y Almendra

Serves 4 to 6

2/3 cup ( about 3 ounces) blanched (peeled) almonds (I always keep the slivered ones on hand, but you can use whole ones as well), plus a few extra for garnish if you wish


2 medium (about 1/2 pound total) boiling potatoes (the red- or white-skin variety or the multi-purpose Yukon gold, which are typically larger), not peeled, but cut into ½-inch cubes

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 medium fresh poblano chiles

1 bunch (about 8 ounces) mustard greens, tough stems cut off

3 cups vegetable stock or water, plus a little more if needed

  1. Heat your oven to 325 degrees, spread the almonds onto a baking sheet, slide them into the oven and toast them until nutty-smelling and pale golden, about 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, fill a large (4-quart) saucepan three-quarters full with water, add 1 tablespoon salt and set over medium-high heat. When it boils, add the almonds and cook for 5 minutes, in which time they'll soften. Scoop the almonds out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  3. Add the potatoes and garlic to the pot and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 6 minutes.

  4. While the potatoes are boiling, roast the poblanos over an open flame (or close under a preheated broiler), turning regularly until blistered and blackened all over, about 5 minutes. Place the chiles in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and cool until handleable. Rub the blackened skin off the chiles and pull out the stems and seed pods. Briefly rinse the chiles to remove bits of skin and seeds.

  5. When the potatoes are ready, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the potatoes and garlic into a bowl. Add two-thirds of the mustard green leaves to the pot and cook for 1 minute, just until they soften and turn even brighter green. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the greens to a blender jar, then scoop in the blanched garlic and half of the potatoes. Add one of the poblanos, the vegetable stock (or water) and the toasted almonds.  Process until completely smooth—with a high-powered blender, this should take about 3 minutes; typical blenders will take longer. Pour the soup through a medium-mesh strainer (to catch any unblended almond) into a medium (3-quart) saucepan set over medium heat.

  6. Chop the remaining poblano into ¼-inch pieces and add to the soup along with the other half of the potatoes. (You can reserve a tablespoon or two of poblano for garnish if you want.) Slice the remaining mustard green leaves in half lengthwise, then slice them crosswise into ¼-inch strips; add to the soup. When the soup has simmered for a minute or two—the mustard greens need to soften to a pleasant tenderness—season with salt, usually about 1 ½ teaspoons. If the soup seems a little thicker than you'd like, thin it with a little extra vegetable stock or water.  Divide the soup among four warm bowls and top each with a few small pieces of almond and poblano if you've saved them out.  


Roasted New Potato Salad with Poblano Mayo

Ensalada de Papas Cambray Rostizadas con Mayonesa al Poblano

Makes 3 cups, serving 6 to 8 as a tapa

1 ½ pounds small new potatoes

A little vegetable oil or olive oil for coating the vegetables

Salt and black pepper, preferably freshly ground

2 large poblano chiles (divided use)

4 garlic cloves, peeled

4 green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces

1 egg yolk

¼ cup light vinegar (I prefer rice vinegar or Spanish cava vinegar)

1 cup olive oil (one that's not too strong is good here)

About ¼ cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off)

OR ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  1. Roast the vegetables.  Heat the oven to 375°. If the potatoes are bite size, keep them whole; if not, cut into halves or quarters. Put them into a bowl, drizzle with a little oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Scoop onto one side of a rimmed baking sheet. Roast 10 minutes. Put the poblano and garlic in the bowl, toss with a little oil to coat and scoop onto the other side of the baking sheet.  Toss the green onions with a little oil and scatter over the potatoes.  Return to the oven and roast until the potatoes are tender, the poblano is evenly blistered and the garlic is soft, about 20 minutes.  Cool.

  2. Make the mayonnaise.  Peel the blistered skin off the poblano, pull out the stem and seed pod, then quickly rinse to remove any stray seeds.  Chop into small pieces and scoop half into a blender jar, along with the roasted garlic. (Set the rest of the chile aside.)  Add the egg yolk, vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt.  Blend until smooth.  With the blender running, pour in the olive oil in a thin stream, creating a luxurious mayonnaise.  

  3. Finish the salad.  Scoop the roasted potatoes and green onion into a medium bowl, along with the reserved chile.  Sprinkle on the cilantro or parsley.  Add a generous ½ cup of the mayonnaise (cover and refrigerate the remainder for spreading on sandwiches or making incredible salmon salad) and stir to combine.  Taste and season with more salt if you think necessary.  Scoop into a serving bowl and the salad's ready.  Cover and refrigerate if not serving right away.


Tangerine Spice Margarita (Winter)

Yield: 1 cocktail

Bartender's Notes:  The allspice dram, an old classic from Jamaica, reinforces the spices in the triple sec; if you can't find it (or don't like the strong allspice spice it adds), the drink will still be very good.  To make Spiced Salt for crusting the glasses, mix ¼ cup EACH coarse (kosher) salt and sugar, with 1 tablespoon coarsely ground allspice.


Allspice Dram (we use St. Elizabeth)

Spiced Salt (see Bartender's notes above) or salt-and-sugar (equal proportions)

1 lime wedge

1 ½ ounces 100% blue agave reposado tequila (see page 000)

1 ounce fresh tangerine juice

¼ ounce fresh lime juice

¾ ounce Winter Spice Triple Sec (see recipe below)

¼ ounce agave syrup

6 to 10 small ice cubes (about ¾ cup)

Give the 6-ounce martini glass a rinse of the Allspice Dram (dribble a few drops into the glass and swirl it around to coat the interior). Spread the Spiced Salt on a small plate, moisten the rim of the glass with the lime wedge, and upend the glass onto the salt to crust the rim.

In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, tangerine juice, lime juice, Winter Spice Triple Sec, agave syrup and ice.  Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold; tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink after about 15 seconds of shaking. Strain into the prepared martini glass and serve immediately.

Winter Spice Triple Sec

I've given a recipe for making a cup (8 ounces) of Spiced Triple Sec, which will make about 10 drinks. Any leftovers (which I doubt there will be), could be used in your favorite (regular lime) margarita, especially if you add a splash of sweet vermouth. I find it easiest to crack the spices by using a mortar or putting them together in a freezer bag and crushing them with a rolling pin, mallet or the side of a large knife.

1 cup triple sec

¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon cracked allspice berries

2 cracked whole cloves

½ inch cinnamon stick, crushed into small pieces

Combine the triple sec and spices in a bowl or bottle, cover and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours for the spice flavors to infuse.  Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, pour into a glass storage container and cover until you are ready to use (it will lose some of its vibrancy after 3 to 4 months).

Yield:  1 cup

Chef Rick Bayless told the ladies about his new podcast The Feed.  Click here to listen!


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