Where Local and Global Appetites Collide
With Relish: Manish Shah, Heirloom Farmers Market, Tucson

With Relish: Manish Shah, Heirloom Farmers Market, Tucson

With Relish Circle of Food blog
Meet Manish
photo by Pedro Romano

Meet Manish Shah, the co-executive director of Heirloom Farmers Market. He’s responsible for Heirloom Farmers Market Chile Festival happening this weekend September 23-25 at Trail Dust Town, Steam Punk Ranch in Oro Valley and Rillito Park. What makes this chile head tick?

What’s your favorite dish to cook on a personal level and why? Got recipe?

Right now, it’s fresh chile season so I’m doing a lot of things with them.  This is one that my kids love:

Corn and Poblano Lasagna Recipe
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears), or frozen and thawed
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
4 poblano chiles, charred, peeled, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips
12 (7 by 3-inch) no-boil lasagna sheets
2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese or mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add 2/3 of the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Mix in the corn and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and thyme. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the zucchini and poblano strips and cook for 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.

Spread about 1/4 of the corn mixture over the bottom of an 11-by 8-inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of 3 lasagna sheets. Spread 1/4 of the poblano mixture and 1/4 of the cheese over the pasta. Repeat the layering 3 more times. Cover with foil.

Bake until the pasta is cooked and tender, about 50 minutes. Remove the foil and turn up the oven temperature to broil. Broil until golden brown and bubbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

What’s the best or most memorable meal you have eaten lately? Why?

I just had a fabulous meal at Contigo.  It was just perfection – refreshing cocktails, the food was fresh and every dish was delicious, the patio was gorgeous, the service was awesome.  I just love what Nick and Deb are doing in their new digs.                                    o-pasta-heirloom

What’s your favorite food city? Why? 

That’s a really tough question.  I loved my last trip to Chicago.  I consumed all kinds of foods while there and it was all amazing.  I ate at a pizza joint called Bartoli’s.  I’m literally trying to find some excuse to go to Chicago just for that deep dish pie.

A good meal is not complete without … ? 

Something spicy.  I really love heat in almost all my food.  I usually add habanero or chiltepin to my food at home.  I always ask for the hottest sauce in the house when dining out.

My 3 favorite restaurants are:

I love food way too much to keep it down to 3!  I’ve got like 60 that I adore.  I ate at Boca, Zayna, BK’s Hot Dogs, Contigo and Commoner and Co in the last three days and everything was terrific.                  websitethumb_chilefest-02-1280x840-heirloom


Heirloom Farmers Market Chile Festival

Get your heat on! Now is the time to stock up on roasted green chiles. Yes, chiles freeze well. Check out how the market vendors will be incorporating chiles into their products. For instance, Adventure Coffee will be adding chiltepin to their cold brewed coffee and Mediterranean Delight will have Hatch green chile hummus, to name a few. Plus, live music and chef demo from two-time Iron Chef winner, Danny Perez.


Karyn Zoldan: The Sunday Heirloom Farmers Market has grown into the place to be on a Sunday morning – friendly vendors and farmers, a gracious assortment of products, the knife-sharpening guy, food trucks, live music – a quintessential Tucson food experience.

Day #20 — 2/3 of the race finished

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