Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hail to the humble/elegant Yucatecan Panucho!

"Sunday in Merida" is an amazing cultural event celebrated in the Plaza Grande with free entertainment and vendors of all kinds -- a beautiful, festive family day. And after enjoying a 1-hour "Vaqueria" performed by the Ballet Folklorico de Merida, I looked around for lunch and encountered a mother and daughter turning out some very tasty Yucatecan Panuchos to order.

Don't confuse the humble yet elegant Panucho with a taco. It may look like one at first glance, but it is not!

Panuchos are based on a special twice fried corn tortilla (as we learned to do at Los Dos CookingSchool). Fried once after being formed with a little rim that is then flattened to seal what becomes an inflated tortilla. Then fried again carefully (without turning over) after a slit is opened to push in a spoonful of pureed or mashed black bean frijoles that are spread inside by pressing around gently with your fingers. The result is a tortilla with a thin inner bean layer. VERY elegant in my book!

You can top that tortilla with lettuce if you like, then with shredded meat like cochinita pit-smoked pork or pavo (turkey) prepared a number of ways. Then a slice of tomato and some purple pickled onions. Add some avocado if you like...and a little of the ubiquitous Chile Tamulado habanero sauce if you dare. It's a winner any way you slice it.

Hail to the humble/elegant Panucho!

NOTE: The awesome local drink is a green delight called Chaya, made from Yucatecan "tree spinach."  It has more calcium and protein than kale, and two times more iron and crude fiber than spinach. It also has very high concentrations of potassium, vitamin C and carotenoids. You can add a little something to that, too...

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