Mexican Modern

Book Excerpt: Mexican Modern

Sara Bergthold Mexico and Central America Leave a Comment

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 Marinated Shrimp

Marinated Shrimp

ceviche de camarones en aguachile

This beautiful dish has a delicate air about it that is completely belied by the heat of the chili. Although jalapeño is one of the milder types, you may want to reduce the quantity. This makes a perfect appetizer for a hot summer’s day–washed down with a cool Mexican beer.

1 lb 5 oz (600g) large raw shrimp, cleaned and butterflied
1 1/4 pints (700ml) fresh lemon juice
13 oz (375g) cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced into semicircles
12 jalapeño chilies, seeded, deveined, and cut into strips
1 red onion, peeled and chopped into strips
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the shrimp in a non-metallic bowl and pour over the lemon juice. Add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and leave to marinate for 15 minutes.

Serve with savory Mexican-style crackers or toast.

Serves 4.

Mestizo Soup

sopa mestiza

In Mexica, the word mestizo crops up again and again, referring to people of mixed Spanish and indigenous blood. Here it is applied to a nourishing soup of mixed vegetables, made truly Mexican by a fiery edge of chipotle chilies.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 oz (70g) each of chopped leeks, celery, and carrots
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 oz (25g) mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 oz (40g) cooked sweetcorn kernels, fresh or canned
1 1/2 oz (40g) zucchini flowers, rinsed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 lb 4 oz (1 kg) tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
1 tsp chopped canned chipotle chilies
1 tsp fresh chopped epazote or flat-leaf parsley
3 pints (1.7 liters) chicken stock
salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the leeks, celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms, sweetcorn, zucchini flowers, and garlic until tender.

Add the tomatoes, chilies, epazote and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, and serve piping hot.

Serves 6.

Tacos with shredded duck and orange

tacos con chilorio de pato

Tacos are especially good at Los Danzantes. At certain times of the year they make them with guisanos de maguey–that’s the maguey plant worm, a crunchy Oaxacan delicacy that also finds its way into bottles of mezcal. This piquant recipe uses orange to allay the strong chili and garlic flavors.

Duck Tacos

2 fl oz (50ml) vegetable oil
3 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
5 1/2 oz (150g) pasilla chilies, roughly chopped
2 medium tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp Mexican orégano (or sage mixed with Italia oregano)
3 1/2 fl oz (300ml) fresh orange juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cooked duck, meat shredded
12 soft corn tortillas
2 large avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced, to garnish

In a frying pan, heat the oil, and sauté the onion, garlic, and chilies until softened. Add the tomatoes and oregano and cook gently for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Transfer to a food processor and blend to a purée.

Pour into a saucepan, stir in the vinegar and orange juice, and warm over low heat. Mix in the shredded duck meat, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Heat the tortillas on a griddle or in the oven (they should stay soft, not crisp). Place a tablespoon or two of the duck mixture along the center of each, and fold in the sides to close. Serve garnished with avocado slices.

Serves 6.
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