Huauzontle Patty in Sauce
(click to enlarge)

Huauzontle Patties
Mexico
  -   Tortitas de Huauzontle
Makes:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
10 Patties  
****
2-1/3 hrs  
Most

These patties are made very similarly to how Chilis Rellenos are made. They aren't as hard to make as you might think from glancing at the instructions, but do take close attention. This recipe is divided into segments, each of which can be a do-ahead break point, and even serving can be delayed. See Photo Gallery and Discussion for details.



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Huauzontle (1)  
Water
Salt
-- Broth
Can Tomatoes
Onion
Garlic
Olive Oil ExtV
-- Seasonings
Cloves
Pepper, black
Bay Leaf
Cinnamon Stick
Thyme, dry
Salt
-- Patties
Cheese, Mexican (2)  
Flour
-- Frying
Egg Whites
Egg Yolks
Salt
Oil, deep fry (3)
Make Tomato Broth   (30 min - 15 min work)   -   This can be done several days ahead.
  1. Chop TOMATOES fine, saving all the juice they're packed in.
  2. Chop ONION fine. Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Mix.
  3. Mix all Seasoning items.
  4. Heat Oil in a saucepan and stir in Onion mix. Fry stirring until garlic starts to show color.
  5. Stir in Tomatoes including their juice. Stir in all Seasoning items. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. Simmer uncovered if needed to get the consistency you want (it should be quite liquid). Some cooks purée the broth.
Prep Huauzontle   -   (1-1/2 hr min)   -   This can be done one day ahead.
  1. Rinse HUAUZONTLE and strip all the flower buds from the stems. Take care no stems or leaves or spoiled strings of buds are included. This is tedious, do it sitting down at a table, with a beer.
  2. Bring plenty of water to a boil, dump the Huauzontle Buds into the water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain and wring out as dry as you can. Refrigerate if keeping overnight.
Form Patties   -   (25 min)   -   This can be done hours ahead, or the evening before and refrigerated.
  1. Cut Cheese into strips about 1/3 inch thick, 3/4 inch wide and 1-1/2 inches long.
  2. Set out a plate with Flour ("all purpose" is fine) for rolling the patties in.
  3. Take a small handful of Huauzontle and squeeze out any excess water. Place a piece of Cheese on it. Squeeze out another portion of the Huauzontle, place it over the cheese to cover, and mold it all into a patty. You'll have to massage it quite firmly to get it to hold together.
  4. Roll Patties in flour to coat lightly. Shake off excess flour.
Deep Frying   -   (45 min)
  1. Get everything ready. There must be no hesitation or distractions during the frying step.
    • Have a shallow ladle ready for ladling oil over patties.
    • Have a draining rack ready large enough to accommodate all your patties.
    • Have ready some means to lift the patties out of the batter and into the oil. Neither tongs nor turners work really well, but that's what we've got. Lifting up with a turner, then picking off with tongs and lowering into oil can work.
    • Have ready a slotted turner or similar to lift patties out of the oil to the draining rack.
    • Separate EGGS into whites and yolks. Make sure there isn't even a dot of yolk in the whites. Add Salt to the yolks.
  2. In a deep iron skillet or similar, heat Oil about 5/8 inch deep to 350°F/177°C. The skillet needs to be large enough to fit two or three patties with space to work the ladle.
  3. While oil is heating, beat Egg Whites very stiff, then beat in Egg Yolks. This batter is a unstable, so it can't be made ahead.
  4. Working just 2. or at most 3, at a time, dip Patties into Egg Batter to coat completely and fairly thickly, then set them into the Hot Oil. Immediately start ladling oil over the Patties, very gently at first, then vigorously as the batter stiffens. Don't let the oil get too hot, you need the inside hot before the outside gets too brown. As soon as the patties are lightly browned on top and medium browned on the bottom, remove them to paper towels on a draining rack.
Serving   -   (15 min)
Here we have several option. For option 2 and 3, the Patties and Tomato Broth could even be refrigerated overnight.
  1. Serve as is:   For this method you need to have the Tomato Broth fully hot before you start frying, and will need individual dishes, preferably heated. Place a ladle of hot Tomato Broth in a dish and place one or two Huauzontle patties, still hot from frying, over the broth. Get it out on the table immediately.
  2. Warmed in Broth:   This method gives you more time. Pour about 3/4 inch of the Broth into a shallow stovetop casserole or similar. Arrange the Patties in the pan and bring up to a simmer. Simmer until well warmed through, about 5 minutes, or 8 minutes if refrigerated. Ladle some broth on each plate and plunk a Patty in it. Serve hot. Even more convenient, you can do this in an electric frying pan set to just simmer.
  3. Oven Heating:   Personally, I think this method gives the best results. Use tiny casseroles or similar ovenproof dishes. Spoon out a ladle of Broth into each and place one or two Patties on top. Lightly cover with foil and put into a 350°F/175°C oven. Let bake until about 175°F/80°C in the center. Remove the foil when about half way. Set out on the table in the baking dish.
NOTES:
  1. Huauzontle: This is an unusual ingredient, but I have found it here in Southern California in late September and early October. Weight is "on the stems". For details see our Huauzontle page. In the near future I will try developing a way to use broccoli florets as a substitute, though they are much more delicate.
  2. Cheese:   The pattern recipe called for Panella, a fresh cheese that softens well but does not melt. In other regions, Oaxaca or similar good melting cheeses may be used. For details see our Cheese Varieties page.
  3. Oil - Deep Fry:   You need oil deep enough to come almost half way up the Patties. While lard would most likely be used in Mexico. If you are still afraid of Lard, Pure or Pomace Olive Oil (not Virgin) will do fine.
  4. Frying:   Allow no distractions whatever during the batter and fry steps. You must work without hesitation, paying close attention. On the other hand, once fried and on the draining rack, they can be held - see Serving above.
  5. Discussion:   These are delicious, but clearly a bit of a project, so why would you want to make them? Perhaps your aunt Hilda left you a big bundle of Huauzontle, and expects photos to be posted. Perhaps you're really curious about new tastes and textures, or perhaps you just love your craft - and if you don't love your craft, maybe you should be over or Rachael Ray's site instead of Clovegarden.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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