In the decade since Rick Bayless published Mexican Everyday, he has claimed victory on Bravo's Top Chef Masters, was nominated for a Daytime Emmy as host of Mexico-One Plate at a Time, and won a James Beard "Outstanding Restaurant" Award for his Mexican eatery in Chicago, Frontera Grill. Now, he's back with More Mexican Everyday (Norton, April), which features "master-class" recipes all home cooks should know, and the salsas and seasonings that make up Bayless's pantry staples.

Bayless chatted with PW about the new book and the evolution of Mexican cuisine in the States, and shared his go-to recipe for celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

How has Mexican food in the U.S. changed in the years since Mexican Everyday was published?

If anything has changed, it’s the availability of ingredients. Farmers’ markets have soared in popularity and supermarkets are better stocked than ever. I find it truly remarkable that ingredients once thought of as uniquely Mexican—like dried chiles and cilantro—are now commonplace. It’s simply become part of who we are in America.

Many recipes in the book are designed for cooking during the week. What makes a weeknight Mexican recipe?

“Weeknight lean” is the type of at-home eating I’ve adopted over the years. These are dishes that are simple to prepare, use nutritious, fresh ingredients and are packed with flavor. Plus, “weeknight lean” leaves room for indulgent weekend feasts, a few of which I’ve also included in the book.

What do you think might surprise most people about cooking Mexican food at home?

That simple techniques like roasting can add infinite depth to flavor. Consider the humble poblano chile. After a stint in a hot oven (or over a grill), the chile takes on a more complex flavor. The same things happens with tomatoes, garlic, and onion. The list goes on and on.

What's your dream Cinco de Mayo meal from this book?

I’d have to say it’s the crowd-pleasing Enchiladas Verdes because it strikes the perfect balance of texture from corn tortilla and fillings, brightness from the tomatillo sauce, savoriness from Mexican cheese and freshness from the onions and cilantro.

Enchiladas Verde

1 pound (about 8 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 or 2 fresh serrano chiles

1 small white onion, sliced ½ inch thick plus A few slices for garnish (divided use)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, olive oil, bacon drippings or fresh-rendered pork lard

1 1/2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water

1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley OR a large sprig of epazote

2 3/4 cups (12 ounces) cooked, coarsely shredded, boneless chicken, pork or beef (this is a good place for rotisserie chicken or leftover roasted or braised meats); or 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (such as Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar; or 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) goat or dry-ish ricotta cheese

8 corn tortillas, preferably from a local tortillería

Dollops of Mexican crema, sour cream, crème fraiche or Greek-style yogurt thinned with a little milk OR A few tablespoons grated Mexican queso añejo or other garnishing cheese such as Romano or Parmesan OR A handful of shredded Mexican melting cheese (such as Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar —you can sprinkle it over the enchiladas before they go into the oven

A handful of cilantro leaves (if I have them)

First make a roasted tomatillo base: On a rimmed baking sheet, spread out tomatillos, garlic, serrano, and the small white onion, sliced ½ inch thick. Slide the baking sheet as close up under a preheated broiler as possible. After 4 or 5 minutes, when everything is blotchy-black and softening, turn the vegetables and roast the other side until everything is cooked through (they should be soft), while taking on an attractive bit of rustic char. Once the vegetables are roasted, they go on the stove top to cool down a little.

When the vegetables have cooled down enough to handle, slip the skins off the garlic and pull the stem off the chiles. In a blender, combine the tomatillos (and any juice on the baking sheet), garlic, chiles, onion and a scant teaspoon salt, and blend everything to a coarse puree.

In a large (10-inch) skillet over medium-high heat measure the oil or lard. When it’s hot, add the roasted tomatillo sauce base. Let the sauce reduce and concentrate, stirring it frequently, for about 4 minutes. When it’s thicker than spaghetti sauce, stir in chicken broth and cilantro or parsley. Season the sauce with salt, turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer while you prepare the filling.

Measure out your choice of filling. Turn on the oven to 400 degrees. Spray or brush with oil on one side of the tortillas then stack them up, slip them into a plastic bag, fold it over and microwave them at 100% for 1 minute. Let them stand for a minute (to uniformly absorb the heat) while you stir a little sauce into the meat to moisten it (the cheese needs no sauce). Then lay out the tortillas on the counter, top them each with a portion cup of the meat or cheese, roll them up and fit them into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Spoon the hot sauce over them (covering the whole tortilla avoids dry ends), slide them into the oven and bake just until heated through—about 4 minutes. Longer in the oven means mushy enchiladas.

To serve the enchiladas, simply use a spatula to transfer them to dinner plates. Garnish the enchiladas with the topping(s) of your choice, crema, cheese, white onion, and or cilantro leaves.