This weekend, we sent Edson Diaz-Fuentes from our menu innovation team, down to Cornwall to visit the inspirational and fascinating Eden Project. The purpose of the visit was to take part in the Harvest food festival Chilli Weekend and give a cooking demonstration to share a little bit of what we do at Wahaca.
There were lots of fresh chillis, tomatoes and other wonderful ingredients from the Eden Project gardens for us to use so we were spoilt for choice of what to make. One of the ingredients Edson was most excited about was courgette flowers, or “flor de calabaza” as to the locals.
This is a favourite ingredient in Mexico for quesadillas, so it was definitely something not to be missed. After sautéing the courgette flowers with chopped onion and garlic in olive oil, they were folded into a corn tortilla accompanied with crumbled Queso Chihuahua from Gringa Dairy, one of our favourite local cheesemakers.
No quesadilla is complete without freshly made salsas, so Edson whipped up two with tomatoes and chillis from the Eden project gardens. The fresh tomatoes, in season provided an incredible flavour.
The first salsa we prepared was a “salsa de molcajete” made with a mortar and pestel. Garlic, chillis, onions and tomatoes were roasted in a dry pan until the skins were blistered and slightly charred and the a mortar and pestle was put to use, smashing the ingredients, to create a chunky salsa that can be served not only with quesadillas but also as a sauce on other dishes like enchiladas.
Next-up Edson also set about making a light, fresh salsa with the amazing heirloom tomatoes from Eden, a wonderful range of purples, yellows and reds bursting with flavour. This is a quick and easy salsa to make, where flavoursome, ripe tomatoes are a must. He added finely chopped onion, coriander, jalapenos, olive oil, lime juice and cornish sea salt to the tomatoes making a perfect accompaniment to quesadillas or as a dip with tortilla chips.
Helping the guys out were volunteers from the audience, which on the Sunday included some very lucky local school children. The two boys who helped out were extremely keen to get to work in the kitchen, and were even enthusiastic about the quantity of chillis they wanted to add to the salsas we prepared! Wahaca fans of the future for sure.
To accompany the quesadillas Edson prepared a seasonal margarita (well it was the weekend), made with mandarin and lime juice, Cointreau and 100% agave Olmeca Altos tequila, our house tequila at Wahaca. Remember, using 100% agave tequila will ensure quality and purity, as well as how smooth and easy your drinks are. A refreshing, light drink which is a great accompaniment to many Mexican dishes.
Thanks to the Eden Project for inviting us along to this marvelous Chilli Weekend. Here’s to next year.