Grilled Hot Dog Tortas

Grilled Hot Dog Tortas

– Tortas de salchicha

Virtually every tortería serves this torta, split hot dogs griddled and tucked inside bread. Instead of ketchup and relish, you dress your dog with all the typical torta condiments. Good old yellow American cheese provides another melty flavor and texture. It’s not diet food, that’s for sure, but it sure is delicious.

★ Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spread the butter evenly over the cut sides of the rolls. Cook the rolls, buttered sides down, in the skillet until they are light golden brown and crisp, but still soft in the middle, a minute or two.

★ Spread a layer of beans (a tablespoon or two) over the bottom half of each roll, then put a slice of cheese on the roll bottoms. Spread the crema and mustard over the roll tops and add the remaining cheese.

★ Cook the hot dogs, cut side down, in the same pan until they’re golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Set the bun bottoms, cheese side down, on top of the hot dogs. Cook for a minute more, so the cheese has a chance to melt.

★ Flip the bun bottoms and the hot dogs together onto a cutting board. Top with SLICED CANNED PICKLED JALAPEÑOS, THINLY SLICED WHITE ONIONS, slices of RIPE MEXICAN HASS AVOCADO, and a pinch of salt. Cover with the roll tops and press firmly but gently.

About 3 tablespoons unsalted
butter, softened
4 large rolls, preferably
teleras, Portuguese, kaiser,
or ciabatta, split
½ cup Refried Black Beans,
homemade (page 148) or
canned
8 thin slices yellow American
cheese
Scant ¼ cup Mexican crema
or crème fraîche
4 teaspoons Dijon or yellow
mustard
6 fully-cooked beef hot dogs
(2 ounces each), halved
lengthwise
➙ MAKES 4 ★

Ancho Chiles Stuffed with Beef

Ancho Chiles Stuffed with Beef Tenderloin, Shiitakes, and Cremini

– Chiles Anchos Rellenos de Puntitas de Res

I like to rehydrate dried ancho chiles in a mixture of water and cider vinegar flavored with piloncillo. Here, the sweetness from the piloncillo and the acidity from the vinegar make a well-balanced and delicious finished dish. Serve with one of the tangy sauces as suggested below.

– Makes 6 servings

For the Filling:

– 1/3-cup (about 3 ounces) soft goat cheese

– ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro

– 1 ½ pounds trimmed beef tenderloin (see Note) or skirt steak, cut into ¼ inch dice

– 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems, removed, caps coarsely chopped (about 2 ½ cups)

– 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)

– 1 large white onion, finely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)

– 2 medium jalapenos, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)

– 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped garlic

– 2 ½ teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled

– 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

– ¾ teaspoon ground cumin

– 3 tablespoons olive oil

– Freshly ground black pepper

– 6 large (about 6 inches long) ancho chiles, prepared for stuffing (see page 5 of the cookbook)

– 3 cups Cooked Green Salsa, Roasted Yellow Tomato Sauce, or Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Sauce

With a rack in the center position, preheat the oven to 350F

Prepare the filling –

Put the goat cheese and cilantro in a large bowl and set aside. Toss the beef, mushrooms, onion, jalapenos, garlic, oregano, salt and cumin together in a bowl. Heat half the oil in a large skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Carefully add half the beef mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the beef is cooked through and the mushrooms are lightly browned about 8 minutes. (The timing may vary, and the beef and mushrooms may give off liquid that will have to be cooked off before the mushrooms will brown.) Scrape into the bowl with goat cheese and cilantro and repeat with the remaining beef-mushroom mixture, using the remaining oil. When all the beef-mushroom mixture has been cooked, stir well to blend in the cheese and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the chiles and stuff them. There should be enough beef mixture to fill each chile, open side up, without overstuffing, so the cut in the chile can be closed over the filling. Place the chiles in a baking dish that holds them comfortably. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until warmed through, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, reheat the sauce to simmering. Ladle about ¾ cup of the sauce onto each plate, top with a chile, and serve.

NOTE: If possible, use tenderloin “tails” (the thin tapered ends) or “heads” (the wider end opposite the tails) for the dish. Both have a less compact texture than cuts from the center that works well in this dish. These cuts may be less expensive than center-cut tenderloin.

Ingredients:

– 2 (16 oz) cans of refried beans

– 1 (8 oz) package softened cream cheese

– 1 cup sour cream

– 1 (8 oz) package of shredded Monterey Jack cheese

– 1 (8 oz) package of shredded Cheddar cheese

– 1/2 (1 oz) pkg of taco seasoning mix

– 1/4 cup green onions, chopped

– 2 tbsp dried parsley

– 5 drops hot pepper sauce

Zucchini and Corn with Cream

ZUCCHINI AND CORN WITH CREAM

CALABACITAS CON CREMA

SERVES 10

ACTIVE TIME: 50 MINUTES   START TO FINISH: 50 MINUTES

 

1 pound tomatoes (about 3 medium)

1/4 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup finely chopped white onion

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, minced, including seeds

2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears), or 10 ounces frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds calabacitas or zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup Mexican crema or heavy cream

4 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (1 cup)

3/4 teaspoon fine salt, or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup chopped cilantro

 

SET the oven or toaster oven to broil and preheat. Alternatively, you can preheat the oven to 500°F. If you’re using the oven broiler, position the rack 8 inches from the heat source.

 

CORE the tomatoes and cut a small “X” through the skin on the opposite ends. Put the tomatoes, cored sides up, on a foil-lined baking pan and roast until their tops have blackened and the tomatoes are cooked to the core, 20 to 30 minutes. Slip the skins from the tomatoes, discard the skins, and coarsely chop the tomatoes.

 

MEANWHILE, heat the oil in a 6- to 7-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions, garlic, and chile and cook, stir-ring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

 

ADD the corn, oregano, nutmeg, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the corn is lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until it is just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, crema, cheese, and salt and cook, stirring, 5 minutes more. Season to taste with additional salt, and stir in the cilantro just before serving.

 

Cucumber and Pineapple Guacamole

PINEAPPLE AND CUCUMBER GUACAMOLE

GUACAMOLE CON PIÑA Y PEPINO

 

MAKES 5 CUPS

ACTIVE TIME: 30 MINUTES

START TO FINISH: 30 MINUTES

 

1 (10- to 12-ounce) cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced (½ inch)

½ cup finely diced red onion

2 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, minced, including seeds, or more to taste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste

¾ teaspoon fine salt, or 1½ teaspoons kosher salt

2 large or 4 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted

½ pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced (½ inch)

½ cup chopped cilantro, divided

 

STIR together the cucumber, onion, chiles, lime juice, and salt in a large bowl. Score the flesh in the avocado halves in a cross-hatch pattern (not through the skin) with a knife and then scoop it with a spoon into the bowl and gently stir together (do not mash). Stir in half the cilantro and the pineapple last so the fresh acidity is distinct from the avocado. Season to taste with additional chile, lime juice, and salt. Transfer the guacamole to a wide dish and sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top.

 

Because of the acid in the pineapple, this salsa will not discolor as quickly as other guacamoles. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface. Let it come to room temperature before you serve it.

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

FRESH TOMATILLO SALSA

SALSA VERDE CRUDA

 

MAKES 1 1/2 CUPS

ACTIVE TIME: 15 MINUTES

START TO FINISH: 15 MINUTES

 

1/2 pound tomatillos (5 or 6), husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, coarsely chopped, including seeds, or more to taste

2 tablespoons chopped white onion

1 large garlic clove, peeled

3/4 teaspoon fine salt, or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

 

PUT the tomatillos in the blender jar first, then add the remaining ingredients. Blend until the salsa is very smooth (the tomatillo seeds will still be visible), at least a minute. Season to taste with additional chile and salt, and blend again.

 

This salsa tastes best no more than a few hours after you make it.

Fideos Secos

MEXICAN-STYLE NOODLES

FIDEOS SECOS

 

SERVES 4 TO 6 AS A MAIN COURSE, OR 8 TO 12 AS A FIRST COURSE

ACTIVE TIME: 1 HOUR

START TO FINISH: 1 1/2 HOUR

 

FOR THE SAUCE

1/2 pound tomatoes (about 2 small)

2 dried árbol chiles, wiped clean and stemmed

1/4 pound tomatillos (2 to 3), husked and rinsed

4 guajillo chiles, wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded, and deveined

2 ancho chiles, wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded, and deveined

1/2 cup finely chopped white onion

5 garlic cloves, peeled

1 (1-inch) piece canela (Mexican cinnamon)

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

1 teaspoon fine salt, or 2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

5 to 6 cups chicken stock

 

FOR THE NOODLES

1 pound fideo noodles or thin spaghetti, such as capellini or spaghettini

1/2 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil

2 pasilla chiles, wiped clean and stemmed

10 large sprigs cilantro

6 large sprigs flat-leaf parsley

6 large sprigs mint

1 (3-inch) piece canela (Mexican cinnamon)

 

FOR THE GARNISH

4 ounces queso fresco or ricotta salata, crumbled (1 cup)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup Fresh Tomatillo Salsa (recipe follows)

1/4 cup Mexican crema, crème fraîche, or sour cream, thinned slightly with water, if necessary, for drizzling

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced

1 cup pork chicharrones, crumbled

MAKE THE SAUCE

SET the oven or toaster oven to broil and preheat. Alternatively, you can preheat the oven to 500°F. If you’re using the oven broiler, position the rack 8 inches from the heat source. Core the tomato and cut a small “X” through the skin on the opposite end. Put the tomato, cored side up, árbol chiles, and tomatillos on a foil-lined baking pan, and roast, turning over the chiles frequently until they’re brown with some blackened spots, about 8 minutes. Continue to roast the tomato and tomatillos until the tomatoes are blackened and cooked to the core, and the tomatillos turn a khaki-green color, turning the tomatillos over once halfway through, 20 to 30 minutes. Slip the skin from the tomatoes.

SOAK the guajillo and ancho chiles along with the toasted árbol chiles in enough cold water to cover until they’re softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking water.

BLEND the chiles, tomato, tomatillos, onion, garlic, canela, cumin, oregano, salt, and sugar in the blender jar with 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock until the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding any solids. Set the sauce aside.

PREPARE THE NOODLES

BREAK the noodles (wrapped in a cloth so they don’t scatter all over) into 2- to 3-inch pieces. If you have a very wide pot, break the noodles in half.

HEAT the oil in a wide 6- to 7-quart heavy pot set over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry the whole pasilla chiles in the oil, turning once or twice until puffed and crisp, about 1 minute total. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool, thinly slice the chiles crosswise and reserve them for garnish.

WORKING in about 4 batches, fry the noodles in the same oil, stirring and turning constantly with 2 flat-bottomed wooden spoons (or tongs) so they fry evenly, until they are a reddish-golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer the browned noodles to a large bowl lined with paper towels to drain.

REMOVE all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the pot, if necessary, then carefully pour the sauce into the pot (it may splatter). Fry the sauce over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of the chicken stock, then add the fried noodles, stirring briefly to coat them with sauce, and bring the liquid to a boil.

TIE the cilantro, parsley, mint, and canela into a bouquet with kitchen string and drop it into the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer the noodles until they are tender and have absorbed the sauce, about 10 minutes. Discard the bouquet of herbs and canela.

Serve the noodles in soup bowls topped with all the garnishes, including the fried pasilla chiles.

The cooked noodles keep for up to three days in the refrigerator. Put them in a baking dish with a little chicken stock to moisten them, then cover with foil and rewarm them in a 350°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.