After spending five days in Mexico, I have returned and am ready to cook up a storm. Obviously my food will be nowhere near as good as the food from Mexico (it’s made by the gods), but I can try. Lucky for me, I was able to find some dried chiles negros (known as pasillas when fresh) at the grocery store in Tucson.
In other news, the lovely folks over at Marx Foods were kind enough to send me some samples of their dried mushrooms. Inspired by a fantastically delicious and simple crab tostada I had on the beach in San Carlos, I wanted to pair the dark earthy flavors of the mushrooms with the mellow smokeyness of the dried chiles but still give the mushrooms center stage. And I don’t know about you, but my favorite stage of all is a Tostada Shell stage.
The mushrooms from Marx Foods were absolutely delicious! I used all the types of mushrooms that they sent me for this recipe, including chanterelles, lobster, porcini, black trumpet, and maitake. I didn’t chop them before I used them, and I should have–the flavor was delicious and paired perfectly with the chiles but having mushrooms in such big pieces on the tostadas made things pretty messy.
Chile Negro Sauce (can be made ahead of time):
- 4 dried chiles (substitute ancho or mulato chiles if you can’t find negro…hint: Marx Foods also carries dried chiles)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups very hot chicken stock or water
- 1 teasp ground cumin
- 1 teasp ground coriander
- olive oil
Cover the bottom of a skillet in a thin layer of olive oil and toast the chiles for a two minutes on each side, then soak them in the hot stock/water for 15 minutes. While the oil is still hot, add the whole garlic cloves, cumin and coriander. Scrape all of this into a blender and add the chiles and soaking liquid. Blend on high until completely liquified. Pour back into the skillet and let sit over very low heat for 20 minutes, until sauce has thickened.
- 2 cups assorted dried mushrooms
- 4-6 corn tortillas, fried until crunchy in vegetable oil (or store bought tostada shells)
- 1 small white onion
- Crumbly Mexican cheese (queso fresco or rancherito are best)
- Cilantro, to garnish
Soak the mushrooms in boiling water for at least 10 minutes until they’re soft. Slice the onion, dicing a little bit super fine to garnish the tostadas. Remove the mushrooms and save the soaking liquid (can be frozen to add to soup/other things later). Sautee the onion and mushroom over high heat until the onion has not quite carmelized, about 4 minutes.
Smear a small amount of chile negro sauce on the bottom of each tostada. Pile the mushroom/onion mixture on top and serve with diced onion, cilantro, and crumbled cheese. Enjoy!