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Ultimate Mexican Brunch

Allegra McEvedy creates the perfect Mexican brunch in episode 9 of Perfect.

Ingredients

  • For the red pepper salsa:

  • 1 red pepper

  • 3 red chilli peppers, or 1 habanero

  • 500g ripe tomatoes

  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped

  • large handful of coriander, finely chopped

  • ½–1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • juice of 1–2 limes

  • salt

  • tortilla chips (cool chile's)

  • a sprinkling of smoked paprika (optional)

  • For the refried beans:

  • 265g black beans, drained weight, (+ 140ml of the liquid, either from the tin or topped up with water)

  • 40ml olive oil

  • 15g butter

  • 200g onion, chopped

  • 15g garlic, chopped

  • 2g birds eye chilli, sliced small

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

  • 30g coriander stalks, chopped

  • s & p

  • handful of toasted pumpkin seeds

  • feta

  • chilli flakes

  • For the Oaxaca juice:

  • 3 apples

  • 3 sticks celery, with leaves if possible

  • bunch of spinach leaves

  • few sprigs mint

  • handful of parsley

  • For assembly:

  • 3 big handfuls tortilla chips (again, cool chile's fresh ones which i'll chop up and fry)

  • 1 recipe salsa as above

  • 200g ricotta or queso fresco if you can get hold of it

  • 2 eggs

  • knob of butter

  • handful of coriander, chopped

  • extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

  • salt

Method

  • For the red pepper salsa::

  • 1.

    Char the skins of the pepper, chillies and tomatoes in any of the following ways: on a barbecue or a griddle on a high flame or cut everything in half and whack them under the grill.

  • 2.

    Keep turning until most of the skin is blackened and blistered. Set aside to cool.

  • 3.

    Roughly peel the pepper, chillies and tomatoes, leaving on a little bit of charred skin and keeping the seeds in the chillies.

  • 4.

    Give the peppers a quick squeeze to get rid of some of the liquid, and then blitz them in the food processor and pour into a mixing bowl.

  • 5.

    Stir in the spring onion, coriander, garlic and lime juice, season well with salt and transfer to a colourful serving bowl.

  • For the refried beans::

  • 1.

    First blitz the beans to a puree using some of the liquid from the tin to bring it together

  • 2.

    Fry the onions in the oil and butter, then once they’ve softened stir in the garlic, chilli, coriander and coriander seeds.

  • 3.

    Continue to fry for a couple of minutes, then stir in the blitzed beans with the rest of the liquid from the tin.

  • 4.

    Bring to a simmer, season extensively then turn the heat right down

  • 5.

    Allow it to keep bubbling, making sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom until it’s become a very thick puree

  • 6.

    Serve with the pumpkin seeds on top.

  • For the Oaxaca juice::

  • 1.

    Juice all together.

  • For assembly::

  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 180ºC/356ºF.

  • 2.

    Find a small ovenproof dish (I use a round one of 20 cm diameter with a depth of 6 cm) and cover the bottom with about a third of the tortilla chips, then cover that with about a third of the salsa, then about a third of the ricotta. Repeat twice, not worrying about making perfect layers but just aiming to distribute the ingredients quite roughly. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and bake for 10 minutes. Fry the eggs in butter and lay them on top of the dish.

  • 3.

    Scatter on the chopped coriander, and finish with a bit of sea salt and a splash of extra virgin. Serve with refried beans and Oaxaca juice.

Notes

RECIPE TIPS:

• If you have a gas stove, try roasting them directly over an open flame on the stovetop. Don't be overly concerned that the skins look very charred. The outer skin may look burned but the flesh beneath will be succulent and keep its usual color. Of the sweet bell peppers, red and orange seem to offer the tastiest results but spicier peppers like the poblano, serrano or jalapeno also respond very well to roasting.

• Make sure that your kitchen is well ventilated, especially if you're charring peppers directly over an open flame. Don't wash the freshly roasted peppers; this will wash away some of the flavour.

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