Mushroom, Rajas, & Corn Taco

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Number of Servings: 
Makes 6 large tacos
Recipe Source: 

Amor y Tacos by Deborah Schneider ($18.95, Harry N. Abrams, 2010)

Ingredients

  • 2 Anaheim chiles
  • 1 poblano chile
  • 1 cup fresh corn (about 1 ear)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 white onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz cremini or white button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 6 fresh epazote leaves chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, cut into small cubes
  • 6 warm tortillas
  • Salsa Quemada
  • 1/4 cup grated cotixa or anejo cheese
  • cilantro sprigs

Directions

  1. Roast the chiles by placing them directly in a gas flame or under a hot broiler. Wrap them in a paper towel and allow to cool completely, then remove the stem and seeds. Rub off the charred skin with the towel - do not wash the chiles or you'll lose all that great smokey flavor. Cut peppers into 1/2 inch dice.
  2. Heat a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat until very hot.
  3. In a bowl toss the corn with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Spread the corn in the hot pan and let it blacken slightly, without stirring, for 30 seconds. Have a lid ready in case the kernels begin to pop. Remove the roasted corn from the pan.
  4. In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and diced chiles and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown. Season lightly with salt and remove from the pan.
  5. Reduce the heat and add the remaining olive oil. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the corn and chiles to the pan and stir to reheat.
  6. Turn off heat and stir in the epazote, if using, black pepper, and queso fresco.
  7. To assemble tacos, spoon some vegetables onto a tortilla, Top with a generous tablespoon of salsa and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of cotixa cheese over all. Top with a cilantro sprig.

Notes

The earliest Mexican cuisine was vegetable-based, so in times past, before Spanish beef, chicken and pork worked their way into every taco, there were no doubt plenty of satisfying vegetable taco recipes. Today most vegetables are consumed as salsas, in soups or stuffed into quesadillas and empanadas, but there's no reason why a vegetable taco shouldn't be every bit as tasty and unusual as any other. This sumptuous vegetarian feast is based on the classic combination of roasted poblano chiles and mushrooms, with the addition of corn and mild-flavored soft queso fresco. This taco is often favored by even the most committed carnivores. In other seasons, bits of diced cooked sweet potato, zucchini, chayote, squash blossoms, or golden winter squash would be welcome additions.

Fresh epazote, used as a flavoring in this taco, has a minty-oregano taste and is often available at Mexican markets. (It is also hardy and easy to grow). Fresh or dried mint or Mexican Oregano may be substituted, but do not substitute dried epazote.

More Vegetarian Taco Fillings:

  • Cooked pinto beans, queso fresco, cilantro and pico de gallo
  • Grilled corn, beans, pico de gallo, melted cheese, scallions and pickled jalapenos prepared as a taco dorado
  • Onions sauteed with diced zucchini and corn with ripe red chiles
  • Roasted, skinned and seeded poblano chiles sauteed with slivers of garlic and onions, finished with a spoonful of thick sour cream
  • Cubed and roasted squash, black beans, spicy pico de gallo and cotixa cheese

Here's the Salsa Recipe:

Contributor: 

Deborah Schneider

Deborah Schneider is a chef and author of the award-wining ¡Baja! Cooking on the Edge (Rodale) and Cooking with the Seasons (STC), nominated for a 2009 James Beard Award. She is the executive chef and partner in SOL Cocina in Newport Beach, California. Schneider lives with her family in San Diego.