When I want a vegetarian soft taco filling, I heat the oil in a very large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high. When really hot, I add the zucchini, stirring and turning the pieces frequently, until they are richly browned all over. That's when I add the corn kernels. I let that brown (which takes just a couple of minutes).
Then I scrape in the 2 cups of rajas, along with the sprig of epazote or chopped cilantro.
When everything comes to a simmer over medium heat, I add a couple tablespoons of crema (or one of its stand-ins) if I think the mixture needs it, taste the dish for salt and scrape it into a serving bowl.
Though it's not absolutely necessary, the mixture is delicious sprinkled with crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese.
Makes about 4 servings
No matter how I’m ultimately going to use my poblanos and cream, I start by making what’s called rajas a la crema, Roasted Poblano Strips with Cream. If a gas flame (or charcoal fire) is available to me, I roast the poblano chiles directly over high heat, turning frequently.
I want the heat intense so the tough skin of the chiles will blister and blacken before the flesh has softened too much—it shouldn’t take much more than 5 minutes to roast a chile on an open flame. (When using only one burner, I roast the poblanos in batches.) If only an electric stove is available, I heat the broiler, adjust the shelf as high as it will go, lay the chiles onto a baking sheet and slide them under the broiler. As they blister and blacken, I turn them until all are uniformly charred, about 10 minutes. (Broiler-roasting works fine, though the chiles’ flesh tends to get a little more cooked and takes on less smoky flavor than when flame-roasting.)
Whether the chiles are broiler- or flame-roasted, when they are evenly blackened, I collect them in a bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel to trap a little steam to loosen the charred skin. (Some cooks put them in a plastic bag, but for me, that traps too much steamy heat, leading to flesh that’s softer—more cooked—than I like.) When the chiles have cooled enough to be handleable, I rub off their charred skin, remove the seed pod by pulling firmly on the stem, then rinse the peeled, seeded flesh briefly under cool water. Lastly, I slice the roasted chile into 1/4-inch strips.
To finish the rajas a la crema, I heat the vegetable or olive oil over medium-high in a very large (12-inch) skillet. When hot, I add the white onion and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is richly browned, but still a little crunchy, about 7 minutes. Then I stir in the garlic cloves and the dried oregano.
After a minute or so, when the garlic is fragrant, I stir in the chile strips and Mexican crema. When the cream has thickened enough to coat the chiles nicely—that takes only a couple of minutes over the medium-high heat, though it needs to be stirred nearly constantly—I taste the mixture and season it with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. This is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meat or fish tacos, to steak or pork chops, or to grilled, sautéed or broiled fish or chicken.
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