Easter and Daff Fest have come and gone. Looking at the calendar tells me today is Cinco de Mayo – the day in 1862 that Mexicans declared victory over the French. (It is not Mexico’s Independence Day. Mexico gained independence on September 16, 1810). Just like on St. Patrick’s Day we all become Irish, for Cinco de Mayo we can all become Mexican! Celebrate the day with parties, singing, dancing and great Mexican food.
There is no set traditional food for Cinco de Mayo, so choose from the myriad of Mexican flavors just right for spring. Native Aztec foods include tomatoes, corn, beans, avocadoes, and more than 60 varieties of peppers – from hot to sweet. These combine with foods brought by Spanish settlers, like lime, cilantro, garlic and onion. The result is popular Mexican dishes like salsas, moles, guacamole, chili relleno, enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, burritos, tostadas, margaritas.
Traditional Mexican meals made with colorful fresh vegetables, beans and corn or rice are very healthy. Peppers, onions, tomatoes, beans and corn are all very healthy ingredients that abound in Mexican recipes. Salsas, made with fresh, raw ingredients, contain numerous nutrients.
Spring Asparagus Burrito
1/2 pound fresh asparagus spears
1/2 sweet onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley, chives or cilantro
1/2 cup diced cooked chicken (optional)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 10-inch flour tortillas (prefer whole wheat)
4 ounces goat cheese
Trim bottoms off asparagus, rinse, cut into 1 or 2 inch lengths. Peel and dice onion.
Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion, sprinkle with salt, and cook 5 minutes on medium low heat. Add asparagus, toss to coat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, another 5 minutes or so.
Spread half the goat cheese on one side of each tortilla. Top with sautéed vegetables, then sprinkle on parsley and chicken (if using). Fold tortillas in half over filling to form quesadillas. Secure with toothpicks, if needed.
For a burrito, spread with cheese and filling, then roll up instead of folding in half.
Brush a little olive oil over the top of each quesadilla. Heat a little more oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add quesadillas, and cook 2 – 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and crisp. Use tongs to flip and press down.
Alternately, you can place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Using tongs, turn over carefully and bake 5 – 8 more minutes until golden brown on second side.
To serve, cut in half and garnish with additional sprigs of parsley. If you wish, serve with lettuce, sour cream and salsa. Serves 4.