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Dinner Tonight: Huaraches with Black Beans and Radish

Huaraches are flattened ovals of masa that get their name from the Mexican sandal. They are kind of like larger sopes without sides, and can be topped with just about anything. The first ones I encountered were straight-off-the-griddle from a cart in Parque El Llano in Oaxaca, Mexico. The tender huaraches were slightly blackened from the griddle, just like my favorite pizzas, and topped with a fiery salsa balanced by tender mushrooms and cream. I've been dreaming of them lately, so I really couldn't pass up this version of the dish from Rick Bayless's newest cookbook Fiesta at Rick's.

This isn't the easiest recipe. The black beans need to be stuffed delicately into masa, pressed out into an oval, griddled on both sides, then fried on both, too. It requires some practice to get the right feel for stuffing the beans, and even then the beans occasionally burst out the side when you flatten them on the tortilla press. But luckily, everything almost always turns out well.

I wish the same could be said about salsa. The recipe is paired with two: a three chili salsa and a roasted tomatillo salsa. Both are absolutely delicious but take some time and require a few too many ingredients. Luckily, Rick Bayless has a whole line of salsas available at most grocery stores, which helps cut down on salsa prepping time. Even with all my fumbling around with fresh masa, I was able to complete this in under an hour.

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