Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pupusas with roasted garlic mesclun and cherry tomatoes

Pupusas are, of course, delicious with their traditional topping/side dish, a spicy cabbage-and-carrot slaw called curtido, but they are also wonderfully adaptable to other toppings. To make them into a substantial meal, I generally like to use a cheese filling, spread them with a layer of refried beans, and then add toppings to make a kind of pupusa-tostada fusion.

For 8 pupusas:

2 cups masa harina
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup warm water
about 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese
oil for frying
1 cup refried beans (homemade, or from a can)
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp lemon juice
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
several good handfuls of assorted young greens
a handful of cherry tomatoes

Make the Dressing
1.Roast the garlic cloves in a dry skillet until the skin is fairly blackened. When cool enough to handle, peel and place in mortar. Add the lemon juice and smash garlic and lemon juice into a thickish liquid. Blend in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prep the Salad Ingredients
2. Wash and dry the mesclun, and place in medium-sized bowl. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place in another bowl.

Make Pupusas
3. Mix the masa harina and salt well in a mixing bowl, then add the water and mix until the dough holds together. It will be a little on the dry side, but still workable.
4. Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces, and form each piece into a ball. Push down into ball to form a cavity, fill each with about 1 TBSP of the cheese, and fold sides together to enclose cheese. Flatten on counter-top into a disk about 6-8 inches across and about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. Heat a flat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Before starting the pupusas, make sure your refried beans are warm. If you're not going to be serving them right off the stovetop (my family takes each one as soon as it's done), heat the oven to 200 degrees to keep pupusas warm as they're finished.
6. Brush one side of each pupusa with oil, and put oil-side down on hot griddle. Cook until there are some brown spots on the underside, 2-3 minutes. Brush the other side with oil, flip, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until second side also has some brown spots.
7. Once pupusas are done, spread each one thickly with refried beans. Toss most of the salad dressing with the mesclun, reserving a little to toss with the tomatoes. Top each pupusa with 1/8 of the mesclun, and add a few cherry tomatoes on top.

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