What are your favorite Mexican dishes? After many years, the International community has finally recognized Mexican food as one of the “great” cuisines. That such a foregone conclusion was ignored for so long is tantamount to a crime, but there you have it. I suppose we have Diane Kennedy to thank among so many others.
The simplicity of Mexican food goes an incredibly long way. What is your outstanding South-of-the-Border dish? When and where did you encounter your favorite concoction? Which recipe do you like to cook the most? What course do you make that knocks out dinner guests every time? (Besides the refried beans!)
My most favorite is:
[li]Tacos[/li]Love 'em, can’t get enough of them. Shredded beef and pulled pork are my styles of choice. Never got into the chicken or fish taco thang too much. The only “fish” tacos I’ve had were made from pan-fried ceviche leftovers that I brought home from a party, so maybe I need some guidance. I still miss Tijuana Joe’s cheese tacos and guacamole tacos from my semi-vegetarian days. I’m most partial to a yellow corn hard-shell shredded beef taco. The dusky, mellow flavor of the fried tortilla glorifies the filling in an inimitable fashion.
The finest hard-shell tacos I’ve ever had were from a tiny El Salvadoran restaurant near my first home in Silicon Valley. They taught me the trick of sprinkling Parmesan cheese over the finished product. The condiments for a perfect taco are too simple;[ul][li]Slow Cooked Meat[/li][li]Monterey Jack Cheese[/li][li]Chopped White Onions and Cilantro[/li][li]Shredded Lettuce[/li][li]Grated Cotilla or Parmesan Cheese[/li][li]Good Salsa (red for beef and green for pork)[/ul]Oddly enough, one of the better flavors I’ve ever had in a taco was from a tiny tortillaria near the bottom of Hearst Avenue in the Berkeley flatlands. It was a hole-in-the-wall near Spenger’s Fish Grotto. The filling was ridiculously simple;[ul]Seasoned ground beef (yes, ground beef)[/li][li]Cooked diced potato mixed in with the beef[/li][li]Soft white corn tortilla[/ul]That’s it, so ordinary and crude as to defy logic. I’d snag a tin of Herdez Salsa Casera off of the Bodega’s shelves, pour it over these little marvels, and scoff a half dozen in a sitting. Go figure, but I still miss them to this day and would pay dearly for the recipe.[/li]
[li]Flautas[/li]When these are done right, they transcend most other ordinary entrees. Usually, what you get is a taquito with a high school diploma. A proper flauta is made of two yellow corn tortillas that partially overlap to form a long, tightly rolled tube filled with chicken or Monterey Jack cheese. My favorite Mexican restaurant (Mario’s La Fiesta in Berkeley, CA) makes better flautas than any I’ve had. Deep fried to a crisp golden brown, they are topped with a guacamole and salsa combination. The dark, roasted flavor of the corn serves as a base for the delicate mix of the topping and filling. A drizzle of scathing Salsa Roja fills the bill.
[li]Chile Rellenos[/li]This classic Mexican morsel is downright regal. The fluffy envelope of egg batter mantles a roasted Poblano chile that is stuffed with Monterey Jack or Mexican cheese. A simpler dish is hard to imagine, even if it is less than simple to make. It’s hard to separate them from the ubiquitous runny French dressing over a tomato wedge and shredded lettuce that usually garnishes the plate.
[li]Tostadas[/li]Cheese tostadas are wonderful. A creamy layer of refried beans is smeared like thick butter on a hard fried yellow corn tortilla. This makes the foundation for a swath of shredded lettuce and a heap of grated Monterey Jack cheese that crowns the entire affair. Top it all with a dollop of guacamole and some good salsa and you have real fine eats.
[li]Tamales[/li]Properly made tamales are almost ethereal. Too often, we get fed a dense, brick-like lump of masa shrouded meat paste. A real tamale is light and delicate, with a robust and spicy center of well cooked pork or beef. Slather some Jalapeño hot sauce over a brace of these and get a taste of the hereafter!
Later in this thread I shall post an active index to a compendium of my Mexican recipes from
The Ultimate Recipe Thread. Please understand that the most important thing isn’t how I’ve gotten Hispanic women to admit (through gritting teeth) that my Mexican cooking is better than theirs, its just that the food tastes so good.