*SERVES 4 TO 6 *PREPARATION TIME: 5 MINUTES *COOKING TIME: 10 MINUTES *CAN BE ASSEMBLED UP TO 2 HOURS IN ADVANCE AND KEPT COVERED AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
The reason you will always find refried beans, melty cheese, and crusty bread in my kitchen is molletes. We eat them anytime, day or night, just as we did in my childhood home. My eldest likes crisp bacon or crumbled fried chorizo on top. My youngest wants avocado and sauce from chipotles in adobo on top, and my middle one likes them, just as I do, in their purest form: crusty bread slathered with a thick layer of refried beans and a generous amount of shredded cheese. Pop them in the oven to melt the cheese for your tastiest quick meal. Eat them open-faced. Most people like them topped with pico de gallo.
INGREDIENTS 4 teleras, bolillos, Portuguese buns, or petite baguettes, or 1 large baguette cut into 4 pieces 2 cups refried beans, homemade or store bought 2 cups shredded Manchego, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or mild cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces) Traditional Tomato Pico de Gallo or other salsa of your choice
TO PREPARE 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 2. Slice the bread or rolls lengthwise in half. Spread each piece with 3 generous tablespoons refried beans and top with 3 generous tablespoons cheese and place on a baking sheet. If you want to add more toppings (see the headnote), sprinkle them on top of the cheese. 3. Bake the molletes until the cheese has melted and the edges of the bread are nicely toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve hot, topped with the salsa or with it on the side.
Traditional Tomato Pico De Gallo
*MAKES ABOUT 4 CUPS *PREPARATION TIME: 15 MINUTES *CAN BE MADE UP TO 1 DAY AHEAD, COVERED, AND REFRIGERATED
There are endless variations on pico de gallo, the trademark chunky raw salsa of Mexico. As you travel throughout the country, you will find picos made from vegetables like cucumber and jicama, all kinds of fruits, and even nuts and seeds. All are delicious. This traditional version is a combination of tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and chile with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and some salt. Sometimes I add the oil, sometimes I don't. Try it both ways and see which you like best. Then consider this recipe a starting point and branch out from here.
Pico de gallo translates as "rooster's beak." Why? It's a mystery to me, and to every Mexican cook and culinary expert I've asked.
INGREDIENTS 1 pound ripe tomatoes, halved, cored, and chopped (about 3 cups) 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion 1 jalapen~o or serrano chile, halved, seeded if desired, and finely chopped, or to taste 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and top part of stems 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional) 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
TO PREPARE Place the tomatoes, onion, chile, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil (if using), and salt in a bowl and toss well. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
For more cooking with Pati, go to http://www.instituteofmexicodc.org/pati.php