Chef JAMES LAIRD | RESAURANT SERENADE Chatham, NJ
This is one of my favorite ways to prepare tacos for my friends and our patrons at Restaurant Serenade. Because of the quick cooking of the vegetables, it allows for more time on the deck and less time in the kitchen. Adding the cilantro to the warm vegetables off the heat helps create a wonderfully aromatic dish. Use good-quality tomato salsa or make your own by chopping tomatoes, onions, and jalapeño peppers. Season the salsa with salt and pepper and chopped fresh cilantro.
1 (24-count) package (4-inch wonton wrappers)
1 small zucchini, trimmed and halved
1 medium-size red pepper, seeded and quartered
2 small carrots, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
1/2 medium-size onion, diced
1/2 cup diced green papaya
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 small ear)
2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups cooked pinto beans (or good-quality canned beans), drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato salsa (preferably fresh)
• Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
• Place each wonton wrapper over a small, overturned metal bowl to form a cup shape and bake for approximately 5 minutes each, or until crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool until ready for serving.
• Slice the zucchini, red pepper, and carrots into ¼-inch slices on a mandoline or by hand.
• Preheat a wok for 30 seconds, until medium hot. Add the olive oil, garlic, and onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the zucchini, red pepper, carrots, papaya, corn, and cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 4 minutes or until the onion is slightly tender. Remove the vegetables from the heat. Add the cilantro, toss, and keep warm.
• To assemble, warm the pinto beans and put a small amount in the bottom of each wonton cup. Top with the sautéed vegetables and some salsa, and serve.
Author Note: You can use smaller wonton wrappers to make these as finger foods or passed hors d’oeuvres at a party.
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