Cook the Book: Roasted Tomatoes and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

These roasted tomato and pumpkin seed pesto tacos from Mark Miller's Tacos are not exactly standard Mexican fare. They are a combination of Italian, Spanish and Mexican ingredients that happen to work perfectly together. Italian Roma tomatoes, olive oil and arugula are paired with Spanish Manchego cheese and Mexican chiles, pumpkin seeds and tortillas. If you have been craving the flavor of summer tomatoes, these tacos are a great way to get your fix. Slow roasting the Roma tomatoes concentrates their flavor, making even mediocre tomatoes something to get excited about. The pumpkin seed pesto is great served with pasta and grilled meat or fish, just in case you happen to have any left over.

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Cook the Book: Roasted Tomatoes and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

About This Recipe

Yield:8 tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 pound small Roma tomatoes, cored
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 poblano chiles, oil roasted, peeled, cored, and seeded
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 teaspoon green chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon-infused olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8 (5 1/2-inch) soft yellow corn tortillas
  • Garnish: chopped fresh basil or mint leaves

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve the tomatoes across their midsections and gently squeeze the halves to release seeds and excess juice (the tomatoes will cook faster). Slice the tomatoes thinly. In a bowl, toss the slices with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the sugar. Spread the slices in a single layer (so the tomatoes are evenly exposed to the heat) on the prepared baking sheet.

  2. 2

    Roast for at least 2 hours, or until the tomatoes are about three-fourths dehydrated and the flesh is the consistency of a roasted bell pepper. The slices will shrink by about half during roasting; no need to turn them. Remove from the oven and set aside until at cool room temperature.

  3. 3

    Cut the prepared poblano chiles into 1/4-inch-thick strips (rajas); set aside. Meanwhile, to prepare the pesto, in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the pumpkin seeds, chile powder, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Process until the consistency is a little rougher than peanut butter, or as you prefer.

  4. 4

    To serve, lay the tortillas side by side, open face and overlapping on a platter. Divide the pesto equally between the tortillas and top with roasted tomato slices, chile strips, salsa, and basil. Grab, fold, and eat right away. Or build your own taco: lay a tortilla, open face, in one hand. Spoon on some pesto, top with tomato slices, chile strips, salsa, and basil, and eat right away.

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