Sabrina's Tortillas

This week Diego talks about Cancun, Mexico which is in the Yucatan peninsula. Here's a wonderful recipe from that area.

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Last winter, Christmas time to be precise, I'm in Merida, the Yucatan, Mexico. And I say to my friend of mine, David Sterling, who runs a cooking school down there - great place, great guy, expat New Yorker - "Take me somewhere good." That's what you always say, right? So we barter, we negotiate. He says, "Wait until Sunday morning. I'm going to take you to have tacos made by Sabrina."

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Sunday morning, beautiful day, we go down to the square, and people of all ages are dancing. And off to the side, in the midst of this kind of chaotic, loud, wonderful scene, is Sabrina. She runs up to David, "Oh David!" and proceeds to make us these unbelievable tacos.

So this one is poblano chiles, chiles poblano, corn, potatoes, onions, that's pretty much it. We start by roasting the chiles. So these have had the skin removed. These two haven't. You can use a knife for this but evidently I'm not going to. Pull the cap off, brush out as many of the seeds as is practical. Again, if you leave a few behind, it's not a big deal. Cut these into strips and the strips are now known as rajas, which I believe means rags and they go into our onions. Since we are running a little behind since our onions are doing so well and my rajas are taking awhile I'm going to add the potatoes which are ordinary baking potatoes, boiled, you could bake them if you wanted to until pretty soft and then cubed. Those go in here. We going to now put in a couple of cups of corn. In the summer you can use fresh corn, this is frozen. Now this is done. Sabrina brings this to the market pretty much in this state and keeps it warm. What she does when you come up to her and you say, "I'd like a taco with poblanos and potatoes," is spreads a little lard on a tortilla - corn tortilla of course which is all they use in the Yucatan. Spread a little lard on the tortilla and heat it until it blisters. We eschewed the lard...we don't have any lard so we're using vegetable oil. She said that was ok. She probably did not say that was ok. I was told she said it was ok. Anyway, it's ok. You want to heat the tortilla until it browns lightly on both sides and then I'll show you how to serve. Like crepes, like pancakes, like almost anything you cook on a grill, the first one is usually not perfect - you've got to get the temperature right. That's a little too hot. Not bad though. So then just a scoop of the filling - maybe a scoop and a half, a little bit of crema, you can use salsa rojo (red salsa), green salsa, some crumbled cojita cheese. A little bit of sour cream (or crema), some cilantro.

So it was a great trip. Thanks to David who really knew what was going on. Thanks to Sabrina who was running one of the best places in town. As usual, you have to ask a local and you have to be willing to go anywhere to find the best stuff, which this is.

I'm making these tonight.

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