MEXICOONE PLATE AT A TIME WITH RICK BAYLESS
Episode 9: Confessions of a Carnita-vore
Carnitas – chunks of pork cooked slowly in lard until they’re golden and crisp on the outside and meltingly tender inside – are a weekend family tradition in Mexico. At the Medellin Market in Mexico City, Rick gives us an insider’s look at how they’re made every Saturday and Sunday in a huge copper cauldron, and served up with fresh corn tortillas and crispy chicharrón
(pork cracklings). But what if a carnitas craving strikes and you’re not in Mexico on a weekend? No worries. Back in Chicago, Rick demonstrates his signature method for making fabulous carnitas right in a standard home oven. Then, thinking beyond pork, Rick shares a creative take on carnitas at the splashy seafood restaurant, Contramar, where the dish gets a deep-sea do-over with chunks of fresh-caught tuna. At his fine-dining restaurant, Topolobambo, Rick shares his own state-of-the-carnitas concept: sous vide pork
(cooked very slowly in a vacuum-sealed packet), shredded, formed into a loaf, chilled, sliced and pan-seared in a stunning modern presentation. Then, in his home kitchen, he riffs on that idea, making Duck Carnitas with Crunchy Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa
, a dish inspired by the classic French duck confit
technique. Instead of the traditional pork cracklings, he makes ultra-easy Crispy Cheese Chicharrón
, lacy cheese crisps toasted on the griddle, and takes us on a side trip to a Mexico City taquería for a look at the dramatic, giant version of these “cheese cracklings.” The elegant, yet casual, meal is served family-style with plenty of warm tortillas, so everyone can make their own succulent duck tacos.