It’s difficult to choose a country, culture and cuisine that is a favorite out of all of the countries I have visited, but Mexico is up there as a fave! When the weather heats up, the thought of those lime and cilantro flavors make me smile, with the memories of fresh fish and seafood coming in from a sparkling ocean. Throw some margaritas into the mix and the smile gets broader!
As you can imagine, even though I am on the other side of the Atlantic here, I still love to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, (for those who are unaware, it is a celebration of the battle of Pueblo and us hugely celebrated in the States) and here are just a couple of great recipes for feasting on.
The great thing about this menu is that most of it is made in advance, with the pork slow cooking in the crock pot, allowing you to go out and enjoy the spring sunshine!
An amazing memory is a wine memory, of course! A visit to the Domecq vineyard near Ensenada, in the Baja region was a magical visit. Having driven through parched dry desert like terrain, we arrived at on oasis in a valley, full of beautiful flowers and grape vines. At a Mexican Ranch house, I listened to a gentleman in a large white hat, leaning against a pillar on the veranda, staring across the vines describing the seasons in a deep lyrical voice and the growing and making of the wines. When I chat with Europeans in the wine industry, they are surprised to hear about these wines, but they are now being sold in the UK as well as the US, but we have to go into the city to purchase them.
WINE NOTE: Well actually, it tends to be Margaritas and Mexican beers with a slice of lime!! But if you can obtain some of that Ensenada wine, then go for it!
So first course of this Mexican supper is;
Shrimp and Avocado Tostadas
4 corn tortillas
¼ cup olive oil EVOO
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt to taste
Hot Pepper sauce to taste
1lb medium shrimp, cooked shelled and deveined (king prawn?)
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
4oz queso fresco or Monterey Jack
2 ripe avocados
2 plum tomatoes chopped
½ medium red onion chopped
½ head of romaine lettuce washed and shredded
a couple of sprigs of cilantro (fresh coriander)
Fry the tortillas, 1 at a time, in 3/4″ oil for 30 secs each side then set aside
Blitz the next 7 ingredients in a small food processor/chopper and place in a large bowl
Add the shrimp, corn, avocado, tomato, onion, then add salt and more hot pepper sauce to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, top the tortillas with the romaine lettuce and shrimp mixture. Garnish with the sprigs of cilantro.
For main course;
Crock-Pot Pork Tacos
3lb boneless pork shoulder cut into bite size pieces
1 onion finely chopped divided
1 jar (11.5oz) pickled jalapeno nacho slices drained
1 jar of salsa verde or see recipe below
3 cloves of garlic
12 corn tortillas (6inch)
1 tomato chopped
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
Cook meat in batches in a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 6 to 8 mins, or until evenly browned, placing each batch into the crock pot.
Reserve ¼ cup onions & add rest to the crock pot with the nacho slices, salsa and garlic. Mix well then cover with lid.
Low 6-8 hours High 3-4 hours.
Warm tortillas in the microwave by wrapping them in paper towel and heating until warm, according to packaging instructions.
Serve topped with pork, reserved onions and remaining ingredients.
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 pound tomatillos, cut into 1-inch pieces (or green tomatoes)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
1 small jalapeño, with seeds, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
Place hot stock into a pan. Stir in tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until tomatillos start to break down, and sauce reduces by 1/3, about 20 minutes.