Carne Asada with Black Beans
At Frontera Grill in Chicago, Rick Bayless serves this classic dish that combines grilled marinated steak, fried plantains, homemade black beans and fresh guacamole. At home, trim the dish back to a simple duo of spice-marinated rib eye steaks and canned black beans served with avocado.
Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa (Salsa de Chile Fresco Asado)
You can think of this salsa as a not-too-smooth, fresh version of your typical rusty-orange hot sauce—fresh chiles replace dried ones, fresh lime juice replaces vinegar. The roastiness of the fresh chiles adds sweet richness, plus a powerhouse of heat should you choose a chile like cayenne or habanero. The not-too-hot jalapeño is a good chile to start with, as you're getting to know this approach to salsa; its natural, juicy sweetness makes a salsa that's well rounded and utterly delicious—a favorite of market stall cooks in Guadalajara. In its pure simplicity (no additions, no riffs), this salsa is one of Rick Bayless's favorites, too.
Tuna Ceviche with Avocado and Cilantro
With only a few ingredients, Rick Bayless's salpimentado (salt-and-pepper) ceviche is typical of what one would find at stands around the southern tip of Baja. Cooks often make it with sierra, a large and meaty Mexican fish, but tuna works just as well.
Rack of Lamb with Pasilla Chiles
A smoky, berry-rich Argentinean Malbec pairs beautifully with this flavorful dish.
Bayless's Queso Fundido al Tequila
Chef Rick Bayless is renowned for cookbooks featuring elaborate Mexican recipes. With Mexican Everyday, he's finally published a cookbook for fast weeknight cooking. This simple, 20-minute dip of melted cheese flavored with tomatoes, chiles, onion and a hit of tequila is just the thing to satisfy a sudden craving for something warm, salty and gooey.
Rick Bayless of Chicago's Frontera Grill keeps extra cilantro from going to waste by using it in this pesto, which can stay in the fridge for two months. Try it on fish or add a little to soup.