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Mexico - One Plate At A Time With Rick Bayless: Triple Torta-Thon

Airs Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 3 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: In the seventh season of the public television series, "Mexico - One Plate At A Time With Rick Bayless," the beloved chef, restaurateur, author, teacher and culinary adventurer Rick Bayless embarks on his greatest food adventure to date: an insider's tour of Mexico City, a food metropolis bursting with traditional foods and flavors and cutting-edge eateries.

"Mexico - One Plate At A Time With Rick Bayless" brings to life the foods, flavors, stories, diversity, depth and fun of Mexico. In each episode, beloved chef, restaurateur, author, teacher and culinary adventurer Rick Bayless effortlessly tosses together cooking demonstrations, cultural musings, visits to exotic locations, ideas for home entertaining and a generous helping of off-the-wall surprises.

In this episode: Over a breakfast of tortas - Mexican sandwiches filled, in this case, with Rick's quick Mexican scrambled eggs, beans, and avocados - Rick and his daughter, Lanie, plan an all-day torta marathon in Mexico City. Their quest beings at the city's charming Sunday flea market, Lagunilla, where they check out some simple, yet mouthwatering tortas, with a succulent filling of salt cod bacalao.

Next stop: Don Polo, a gleaming 1950s-style chrome and neon diner, famous for its menu of griddled tortas. Rick and Lanie watch how they're made and try a Cubana with chorizo, pork and ham.

Then it's on to El Pialadero - The Cattle Roper - for the famed Guadalajara specialty, Tortas Ahogadas, or "drowned" sandwiches, stuffed with juicy braised beef and smothered in a brothy tomato-oregano sauce. It's a treat so irresistibly messy that it's served with plastic gloves.

Back in Chicago, father and daughter cook up another plan: a backyard torta party for Lanie and her friends - all prepared outdoors at the barbecue. There are Grilled Skirt Steak Tortas and Grilled Zucchini Tortas, along with an Avocado Cilantro Mayo and a Chipotle Salsa to spread on them. In his backyard vegetable patch, Rick shares tips on growing salad greens and pairing them with various kinds of dressings. Then he and Lanie prepare two salads, Mesclun with Lime-Cilantro Dressing and Boston Lettuce with Creamy Queso Anejo Dressing to round out this casual Mexican "sandwich spread."

View the complete list of recipes from Chef Bayless.

Video

Chef Rick Bayless On Cooking With Local Fresh Food

Above: Rick Bayless from PBS's "Mexico: One Plate At A Time" talks about the importance of freshness and local produce in his EarthBox garden on the roof of Frontera Grill in Chicago.