Chef Rick Bayless has made a name for himself across the globe by creating authentic Mexican recipes steeped in the traditions of Mexico. Here he shares a few of his favorites:
Serves 8 as a tapa or soft taco filling
Recipe courtesy of Rick Bayless
12 ounces mushrooms*
2 large (or 4 small) hoja santa leaves OR 32 large epazote leaves
2 medium-thick slices of bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/3 cup slow-cooked garlic mojo (stirred before measuring)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 or 2 limes, cut in wedges
*Note: I love a mixture of cultivated shiitakes and oysters with a handful of wild mushrooms (porcini, chanterelle, hedgehog) thrown in, sliced ½ inch thick (you'll have about 6 cups of slices)
1. Soak the parchment. Cut four 12-inch squares of parchment paper, loosely roll them together submerge them in a large bowl of tap water and weight with a light plate to keep them submerged. Soak 30 minutes.
2. Form and bake the packages. Turn on the oven to 325 degrees. Lay the soaked parchment pieces out on your work surface. If using the hoja santa, place 1/2 leaf (or a whole leaf if you're using small ones) in the center of each parchment square. In a large bowl, mix the sliced mushrooms, bacon and garlic mojo (throw in the epazote leaves if that's what you're using). Sprinkle with the salt, stir to coat everything evenly, then scoop a portion into the center of each parchment piece. Gather up the corners of each one to form a pouch. Pinch the parchment together just above the mushrooms and tie securely with a piece of string or raffia. Slide onto a baking sheet, then slide the sheet into the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling vigorously in the packages.
3. Serve. Open the packages in front of your guests so they can enjoy the explosion of aroma into the room. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on plus fresh tortillas for making soft tacos or toasted baguette for making montaditos.
Makes about 3 cups mojo de ajo
Recipe courtesy of Rick Bayless
4 large heads garlic
OR 10 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) peeled garlic cloves
2 or 3 cups fruity olive oil
3 tbs. minced rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Break the heads of garlic apart, then mash each clove (a fist against the side of a knife is what I do) to release the clove from its papery skin; if using already-peeled garlic, scoop the cloves into a heavy plastic bag and use a rolling pin to mash them slightly.
Stir together the garlic, oil and salt in an 8x8-inch baking pan (make sure all the garlic is submerged), slide it into the oven and bake until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 45 to 55 minutes.
Add the lime juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes for the garlic to absorb the lime and turn golden brown.
(If you're using the larger quantity of oil, ladle off 1 cup -- no garlic cloves -- and store it in a cool dry place for use in salad dressing or sauteing.)
Using an old-fashioned potato masher or large fork, mash the garlic into a coarse puree. Pour the mixture into a wide-mouth storage container and refrigerate it until you're ready to enjoy some deliciousness.