This week on Fiesta at Rick's with Rick Bayless, Rick answered the questions about what exactly is "ethnic food", and does "traditional cuisine" really exist within any culture. Joining the discussion were Rohini Dey, Founder and Owner of Vermilion and David Schneider, Executive Chef and Owner of Taxim. The conversation continued with Heather Shouse, Chicago reporter for Food & Wine magazine and Senior Food & Drink writer for Time Out Chicago. Heather is writing a book on food trucks and shed some light on the history of trucks, the current trends, and some of the issues being faced. Check out the photos below from the show, and the recipes from his new book that Rick has shared with us!
If you missed the show, or just can't get enough of Rick, tune in again this Saturday at 4pm east, or Sunday 9am east to hear it on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius 112 and XM 157.
Recipes for Grilled Mussels with Tomatillo Salsa and Cilantro, and Roasted Beet Salad with Red Onion, Poblano, and Lime after the jump!
Grilled Mussels with Tomatillo Salsa and Cilantro
Mejillones Asados con Salsa Verde y Cilantro
In the grilling world, mussels are about as easy as it gets: lay them on the grill, wait for them to open, take them off the grill. You could douse them with garlic-cilantro butter and be done, letting each of the eager eaters around your table get all buttery digging out those smoky morsels. Or, you could do a little easier-to-eat presentation, breaking off the extra shell, releasing the meat and spooning on a little salsa. If you have one of those little wood-chip smoker boxes for your gas grill, this would be a perfect place to use it.
You can do this same preparation with top neck clams (they’ll be about 3 to a pound; buy 24 to 32 pieces). They take longer to open and cook and require more salsa.
Working Ahead: Because these salsa-topped grilled mussels are good at room temperature, feel free to grill the mussels an hour ahead. Serve them at room temperature, spooning on the salsa when you’re ready to carry them to your guests.
Serves 8 as a nibble or light appetizer
About 48 (1 ½ pounds) tightly closed mussels, scrubbed, any “beards” pulled off
About 2/3 cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (see below) or store-bought tomatillo salsa
¼ cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh cilantro
Turn on a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal grill and let the coals burn until quite hot and covered with white ash. Spread the mussels onto the grill grates. As they open—it’ll take 2 to 4 minutes for the two sides of the shell to have completely released from each other—remove the mussels to a rimmed baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, break off the empty half of the shell and, using your fingers or a small knife, release the meat from the shell. Lay the meat back in the shell (the “empty” side of the shell is actually prettiest for serving).
Arrange the mussels on a serving platter. Spoon a half teaspoon or so of the salsa on each one, sprinkle with cilantro and you’re ready to serve.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Though most Mexican food lovers in the US think “tomato” when salsa is mentioned, tomatillos tend to be the go-to ingredient in Mexico: Their tanginess adds brightness to salsa. And, if those tomatillos (and the green chiles) are roasted, there’s a deeper, sweeter complexity in each mouthful. Honestly, if I could only have one salsa in my life, this would be it.
Working Ahead: Feel free to make the tomatillo-green chile base several days ahead and refrigerate it, covered. Just before serving, correct the consistency with water, stir in the onion and cilantro, and season with salt.
Note: For a super-bright-tasting, very quick salsa, coarsely puree quartered tomatillos with all the rest of the ingredients and a little water in a food processor. Use right away.
Makes about 2 cups
1 pound (6 to 8 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (3 or 4 serranos or 1 or 2 jalapeños), stemmed
15 to 20 sprigs of fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), roughly chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
Roast the tomatillos and chile(s) on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until blotchy black and softening (they’ll be turning from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side. Cool, then transfer everything to a blender, including all the delicious juice the tomatillos have exuded during roasting. Add the cilantro and 1/2 cup water, then blend to a coarse puree. Scoop into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove excess moisture. Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually a teaspoon.
Roasted Beet Salad with Red Onion, Poblano and Lime
Ensalada de Betabel, Cebolla Morada , Poblano y Limón
This roasted beet salad skates into new territory for most North American eaters. Rather than pairing the natural earthy sweetness of beets with sweet-tartness (balsamic vinegar), boldness (blue cheese) and nuttiness (walnuts)—you’ve probably had that now-classic modern American salad more than once—I’ve gone green and bright. I love roasted beets with poblano chiles, red onions, lime and cilantro, plus a little Worcestershire to add depth. When I’m in the mood for a touch of dairy, I’ll add a little Mexican fresh cheese (queso fresco) or crumbled goat cheese or shards of Spanish manchego shaved with a vegetable peeler. And during the summer, I choose a variety of different beets from the farmers market and grill-roast them, along with the onion and poblano, in a perforated grill pan over a charcoal fire.
Working Ahead: The vegetables can be roasted several hours ahead (even the day before in a pinch); cover and refrigerate. Finish the salad within a couple of hours of serving, leaving it at room temperature.
Makes about 3 cups, serving 6 to 8 as a tapa
1 ½ pounds small beets (about 1 ½ inches in diameter), well-scrubbed, stem- and root-ends trimmed, quartered (you’ll have about 4 loosely packed cups)
1 large red onion, sliced ¼-inch thick
2 fresh poblano chiles
1/3 cup olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Roast the vegetables. Heat the oven to 425˚. In a large bowl, combine the beets, onion and poblanos. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce , salt and pepper. Drizzle over the mixture and toss (I like to use my hands here) to coat everything evenly break the onion apart. Scoop onto a rimmed baking sheet, slide in the oven and roast, stirring carefully every 10 minutes, until the poblano is blistered and soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the chiles, then continue roasting, stirring every 10 minutes, until the beets are tender, 20 to 30 minutes more. Cool.
When the chiles are cool enough to handle, peel off the blistered skin, pull out the stems and seed pods, then quickly rinse to remove any stray seeds and bits of skin. Cut into ¼-inch slices about 2 inches long.
- Finish the salad. In a wide shallow serving bowl, combine the beets, onion and poblanos. Drizzle with the lime juice, sprinkle with the cilantro and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if you think necessary. Your Roasted Beet Salad is ready to serve.