(An amalgamation of recipes from the internet and a couple of Mexican cook books)
Today is May 5th – Cinco de mayo and as noted in my May 5th 2012 post, a holiday of relative insignificance in Mexico (except in Puebla where it is called El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla, aka The Day of the Battle of Puebla), that commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin.
Today, here in Venice, we celebrated with brunch because my brother Eric and brother-from-another-mother Danny were in town for their 40th High School Reunion. My niece Jane and her friends were in attendance along with Alan my husband, my step-son Jared and my son Alex who came for a bit and made a valiant effort although he wasn’t feeling well at all, and then my Uncle Phil and his wife Susan came by. Sweet.
The weather was perfect and we were able to eat outside. Everyone was in good spirits and it was a lovely moment in the life.
I served an unmatched pairing of food items and Danny and Eric brought bagels (phew!!! And they were the good kind). This is what we had to eat. Bacon (lots of it per Eric’s request), the good kind, thick sliced and smoky tasting. Fruit salad (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mango), yogurt and granola, smashed potatoes (recipe to follow soon); leftover corn cherry scones with homemade plum jam and marmalade, scrambled eggs – not too well done – and of course, chilaquiles in honor of the holiday. The thing about chilaquiles is that they’re so simple. Simple ingredients. Simple food. But somehow exciting and exotic. You can whip up a batch in no time and with a well stocked pantry you can pull together brunch at the last minute.
I have previously posted a very nice recipe for chicken chilaquiles but this one is traditional and simple and straightforward and plainly good. It was popular. Here is the recipe.
1/3 cup vegetable oil
10 corn tortillas cut into eights (I just tore then into pieces) left out overnight to dry out. Or you could you use store bought but it’s easy to make chips from tortillas.
3 cups roasted Tomatillo Salsa (homemade – see below – or store bought)
Kosher salt and pepper
½ cup crumbled Queso Fresco
Very very thinly sliced onions to put on the top
½ cup Mexican crema (which is just sour cream with an exotic name)
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
Heat about 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
When the oil is hot add the tortillas in batches cooking until lightly browned. Drain the tortillas on paper towels.
Discard the oil, wipe the pan out.
Add the tomatilla sala to the pan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Add the tortillas and cook until soft but not mushy – about 5 minutes.
Season if you want with salt and pepper.
Top with the Queso Fresco and onion rings.
Drizzle with the Mexican Crema
And heat in a 400-450° F oven until bubbling hot – about 10 minutes
Remove from oven and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
If you have a little extra time and if you can find tomatillos and want to make the salsa from scratch (which I must confess I did not do today) this is what you do. Easy peasy.
Preheat oven to 550°
1 pound fresh tomatillos with husks removed
1 serrano chile
1 clove garlic
1 onion chopped
A handful of cilantro leaves
¼ cup vegetable broth
Put chile, garlic, onion and tomatillos on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Put on a rack close to the heat source in an oven preheated to 550° F. Cook until soft and charred.
Peel the garlic. Remove the stem and seeds from the chile.
Put everything into a blender along with cilantro and vegetable broth and blend.
Add water or more broth for consistency.