June 12, 2012

La Cocinita: Cachapas Recipe

 Benoit and Rachael met while working at Commander's Palace, a fine dining institution in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She came by way of Chicago, and he from Venezuela.  What better opportunity to serve their friends and colleagues some late night food and who better to do it than a Latin chef with a French name, thought the pair.  So they conspired to open "La Cocinita" in November of 2011.  I'm looking forward to sharing their arepas recipe and more of their history in the Best of the US Trailer Food Diaries cookbook.  But until then, let me leave your mouth watering with Cachapas...

Cachapas with Red Pepper & Tomatillo Sauce

Ingredients for Cachapas
1 egg
1/4 c milk
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp salt
pinch of sugar
9 oz pkg queso fresco (or mozzarella)

Ingredients for Red Pepper & Tomatillo Sauce
2 red peppers
5 tomatillos
1/2 c vegetable (or chicken) broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp honey
splash of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt and pepper

Directions Cachapas:
1. Grill 3-4 ears of corn in the husks.  Cut the kernels off the cobs (will be approximately 2 cups of corn).
2. Blend 1 1/2 cups of corn with the rest of the ingredients in a blender or a food processor, reserving the remaining 1/2 cup of corn.
3. Fold in the rest of the corn.
4. Ladle a scant 1/4 cup of batter at a time (however many will fit at once) onto a buttered non-stick griddle.
5. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes without disrupting.  Carefully flip each corn cake.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Flip half of the pancakes once more and add sliced queso fresco to the warm side of each of these pancakes.
6. Let sit another 2 minutes to heat the cheese.  Place the remaining pancakes on top of the cheese with the warmer side facing down to create "sandwiches."
7. Top with Red Pepper & Tomatillo Sauce

Directions Red Pepper & Tomatillo Sauce:
1. Peel, clean, and dice the tomatillos.  Wash, deseed, and cut the red peppers into large chunks.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
3. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Puree in a food processor or blender.  Pour pureed sauce through a sieve or strainer.
4. Chill sauce in refrigerator until cool, then serve with cachapas.