Rick Bayless's Zucchini, Corn, and Poblano Tacos

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

You don't come across vegetarian tacos all that often, but in the rare instances in which you do, they're often wonderful. For a long time my go-to was another Rick Bayless recipe involving swiss chard and caramelized onions; I'd put them in front of any meat eater any day. Searching for a recipe using corn and zucchini, I came across this second Bayless recipe, which is similarly excellent.

Why I Picked This Recipe: Craving both Mexican and something involving summer produce (corn, zucchini, and tomatoes), I settled on this recipe for its simple preparation and clean flavors.

What Worked: The base of this filling consists of fresh tomatoes pureed and cooked down until thick; mixed in with crema (sour cream or heavy cream are good substitutes), it makes for a rich, sweet-tart base for the filling. Strips of poblano add a smoky spiciness to complement the mild zucchini. What worked were the phenomenal flavors.

What Didn't: The ratio of zucchini to the other ingredients seemed a little uneven, and once I added it, there was so much that the mixture was dry. Easy fix, just add a little water—but keep that in mind when preparing this.

Suggested Tweaks: For a lighter version of this, full-fat plain yogurt would be a good subsitute for the crema or sour cream.

Adapted from Green City Market.

About the author: Blake Royer is a food writer, photographer, and filmmaker based in Chicago; he has been writing for Serious Eats since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter @blakeroyer.

Rick Bayless's Zucchini, Corn, and Poblano Tacos

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
This recipe appears in: Dinner Tonight: Rick Bayless's Zucchini, Corn, and Poblano Tacos
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped, or 2/3 of a 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large fresh poblano chiles
  • kernels cut from 1 large ear of corn (about 1 cup)
  • 4 medium (about 1 ½ pounds) zucchini, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 5 cups total)
  • 1 sprig fresh epazote, leaves removed or roughly chopped, or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup crema, crème fraîche or heavy (whipping) cream
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) Mexican queso fresco or other crumbly fresh cheese like salted pressed farmer's cheese or feta
  • 24 fresh, warm corn tortillas

Procedures

  1. 1

    In a large (5 quart) pot, heat the oil over medium until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic for the last minute of cooking.

  2. 2

    Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes in a food processor and set aside.

  3. 3

    Over an open flame or under a broiler, roast the poblano until the skin is charred all over, then put in a bowl and cover until the skin steams and loosens. Slip it off, rinse the flesh, and slice into thin strips.

  4. 4

    When the onion is finished cooking, add the tomato puree, cover, and cook, stirring often, until thickened slightly.

  5. 5

    Raise the heat to medium high and add the poblanos, corn, zucchini, cilantro, and crema (or substitute). Stir well to combine (adding a little water if necessary) and cook until the zucchini is soft but not mushy. Season to taste with salt.

  6. 6

    Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the crumbled cheee. Serve with warm tortillas and more cheese for passing.

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