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Recipe: Taquitos and Mexican Inspired Salad from Chef Kevin Belton

Chef Kevin Belton is celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the quarankitchen this week with crispy taquitos and a fresh Mexican-inspired salad!

NEW ORLEANS — Mexican Chopped Salad

Dressing:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic finely minced
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. Olive and/or vegetable oil
freshly ground black pepper
taste and add salt if needed

Tortilla strips:
6 6- inch corn tortillas
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Salad:
1 head romaine lettuce chopped
1 bell pepper, diced small
1/2 red onion, diced small
1/2 jicama, peeled and diced small (optional)
1 zucchini, diced small
4 tomatoes seeded and diced small
4 ears corn if fresh corn is not in season, substitute 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro chopped finely

Dressing, combine lime juice, honey, cumin garlic and salt.
In a slow, steady stream, add the oils, stirring continuously with a fork or small whisk.
Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.

Corn tortilla strips, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stack corn tortillas on a cutting board. Cut in half. Cut each stack of halves into thin strips, widthwise, about 1/4-inch thick.

Transfer tortilla strips to a large bowl. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Spread strips onto baking pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until light golden brown and crisp. Set aside to cool.

Salad, Cut kernels from husks and set aside. Combine corn and other salad ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add dressing and stir to coat all ingredients. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serve with tortilla strips on top or place a bowl on the side.

Baked Taquitos

2 cups shredded chicken we use rotisserie chicken
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground chili powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
20 corn tortillas

Optional Toppings:
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Guacamole
Sour Cream
Chopped Green Onion
Crumbled Queso Fresco
Pico de gallo
Salsa

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken with the cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and fresh lime juice. Stir until chicken is well coated with the seasonings. Stir in the shredded cheese.

Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and place on a plate. Microwave for 1 minute or until tortillas are warm.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the chicken and cheese mixture in the center of the tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place the tacquito, seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Continue rolling taquitos until the tortillas and filling are gone. You should have about 20 taquitos.

Spray the taquitos generously with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until taquitos are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve warm with desired toppings.

Pico de Gallo (rooster’s beak)

1 cup white onion, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt, more to taste
1 1/2 lb. ripe red tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

In a medium serving bowl, combine the chopped onion, jalapeño, lime juice and salt. Let it marinate for about 5 minutes while you chop the tomatoes and cilantro.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cilantro to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Let the mixture marinate for 15 minutes or several hours in the refrigerator. Serve as a dip or with a slotted spoon or large serving fork to avoid transferring too much watery tomato juice with your pico. Pico de gallo keeps well in the refrigerator covered for about 5 days.

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