Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The chard taco experiment

I don't remember how I first found this approximation of a recipe on the Bunny Pie blog, but it struck my fancy, so I printed it out and filed it away for future use. Well, the future was last night, after I took my new bicycle down to Monterey Market (walking, I never realized just how completely downhill it is one way and totally uphill it is on the grocery-laden way back) and picked up tomatillos, chard, and though it wasn't mentioned in the recipe, a sweet potato for good measure.

Since the recipe I was working off of had no measurements (she wrote it down as she was watching Rick Bayliss' show on PBS), I'll summarize my version here. I took 10 tomatillos and roasted them in a 350 degree oven for an hour. I should have used more, say 20, and left them in the oven for closer to 40 minutes. Ah yes, and at the same time, I roasted a garlic clove. When everything was nice and soft and golden-topped, I let it cool for a bit and then threw it in the food processor along with a canned chipotle pepper (I happened to have opened a can of the chipotles in adobo sauce to make a delicious, junk-foody chicken taco filling just a few days before) and a bit of the adobo sauce, and made salsa.

Next, I chopped and grilled a yellow onion, then washed and removed the thick spines of two bunches of swiss chard, then rolled the leaves together (Whenever I do this some part of me pretends I'm rolling cigars. Or dolmas.) and roughly chopped it before adding it to the onions and wilting it. I tossed in a bit of salt at the end, and then assembled the tacos.

But I'm forgetting the sweet potato! It wasn't in the recipe, but I thought as long as I was making a chard-based taco, which is already a little unusual in my book, that a little thinly sliced sweet potato might be good. And it was! My mom is always going on about how well sweet potatoes cook in the microwave, so I called her and asked her how to do it. She said wash, poke, then put it on the potato microwave setting. I didn't have that setting, so I put it in for five minutes, which worked perfectly.

So then I heated corn tortillas, laid down a foundation of the chard-and-onion mixture, balanced a few thin slices of sweet potatoes on top, added the salsa and a bit of sharp aged cheddar, and (pronounced a la Mr. Dyson, inventor of the Dyson vacuum, in those commercials where he details making thousands of suction-losing prototypes before getting his first-vacuum-that-doesn't-lose-suction version right) I had it! I was surprised at how good it was: hearty, savory and a little sweet, slightly spicy, and texturally complex.
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