ENCHILADAS: AZTEC TO TEX-MEX
Cappy Lawton & Chris Waters Dunn
The enchilada is more than an everyday Mexican food. It is a history of Mexico—rolled, folded, and flat—that embodies thousands of years of Mexican life. The evolving ingredients in enchiladas from pre-Columbian to modern times reveal the internal and external forces that have shaped Mexico’s cuisine and culture.
Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex is a comprehensive exploration of one of Mexico’s most historic and popular foods. Illustrated with sumptuous photography, the collection showcases more than sixty traditional and contemporary recipes for enchiladas, as well as recipes for the salsas, salads, and sides that accompany them.
It is your complete guide to enchilada cooking techniques with step-by-step instructions for preparing, assembling, plating, and garnishing each dish.
Enchiladas also provides abundant information about many other key ingredients of Mexican cuisine, including avocados, chiles, tomatoes, tomatillos, nopales (cactus), cheeses, herbs, and spices.
Experience the history of Mexico through its most delicious ambassador, the enchilada!
AS SEEN ON SA LIVE
Ensalada de Nopalitos (Grilled Cactus Paddle Salad)
2 pounds whole cactus paddles, edges trimmed and thorns scraped off
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for bruising the paddles for grilling
salt, as needed for sprinkling on the cactus paddles
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
Pico de Gallo salsa, to taste (recipe follows)
crumbled queso fresco cheese, to taste
Prepare a barbque grill for medium-heat direct grilling.
Brush both sides of the prepared cactus paddles with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.
Place cactus on the grill and cook until grill-marked and tender, 6-8 minutes per side. Set aside to cool while you make the pico de gallo.
When ready to serve, slice the cactus paddles into 1/4 inch wide matchsticks, toss with the 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, minced garlic, and pico de gallo to taste.
Divide between plates and garnish with crumbled queso fresco.
Fresh nopales (whole cactus paddles) that are already cleaned and with thorns removed are widely available at many Mexican markets and specialty stores.
Other recipe ideas for nopales:
For a quick appetizer: Top whole grilled cactus paddles with slices of panel cheese and return to the grill just long enough to soften the cheese. Serve immediately.
To make a high fiber, low calorie breakfast smoothie: Place 1/2 cup prepared and roughly chopped raw cactus paddles in a blender along with 2 cups orange juice and a handful of ice cubes. Blend at high speed until smooth.
La Fonda on Main Pico de Gallo
1 1/2 cups Roma tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons white onion, small dice
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1-2 serrano chiles, or to taste, finely minced
3 tablespoons lime juice
Kosher salt to taste
Mix all ingredients together and add salt to taste.
(Yields approximately two cups)
CHRIS WATERS DUNN is a San Antonio native and holds a graduate degree in creative writing from the University of Denver. Dunn worked for decades in Nashville as a songwriter and record producer. As Chris Waters, he wrote dozens of hits, including nine #1 country songs. Dunn retired from the music business to pursue a second career in culinary studies, graduating with honors from the Culinary Institute of America.
CAPPY LAWTON has designed, developed, and operated twenty-nine restaurants through Texas. After studying business and engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and having a successful career as an aeronautical designer, he entered the restaurant business. Lawton and his wife, Suzy, love food and travel and have spent many years traveling throughout Mexico. Today the Lawtons and their son, Trevor, own and operate three restaurants in San Antonio. La Fonda on Main, Cappy's and Cappyccino's.