by Kate Heyhoe
In 1862 in Puebla, some 2000 Mexican troops under the command of General Ignacio de Zaragoza defeated invading French forces of over 6000 men (many of whom were "preoccupied" with stomach trouble at the time). Although the French returned to occupy the city a year later, the nation has chosen to ignore that fact to revel in the rare occurance of a Mexican military victory.
—from Wild Planet, by Tom Clynes (Visible Ink Press)
A victory is a victory, rare as it may be, and all victories deserve spirited celebrations. Personally, I never need a reason to celebrate with the wonderful foods and drinks of Mexico, but Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May, is an especially appropriate time to roll out the salsa, tequilas and tacos.
This is beach grill food. Gather some branches and build a small fire. Thread some shrimp on a skewer, slather a little achiate recado (wonderful Yucatan spice paste) on them, and lay them an the grill. You don't even need a kitchen, just a beach to put your grill on. (Your deck will do just fine, too.) Enjoy with an ice cold beer.
For the achiote recado:
l-ounce piece achiote paste
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the grilled pineapple salsa:
1 slice (3/4 inch thick) peeled and cored pineapple
1 Anaheim chile
1 small habanero chile, or less to taste
1 slice (1/2 inch thick) white onion
1 teaspoon olive oil
1-1/2 pounds shrimp
To make the recado, put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until free of lumps: you will have about 1/3 cup. (This mixture can be stored in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days. )
Light the grill.
To make the salsa, place the pineapple, chiles, onion slice and oil in a bowl and toss. Grill until soft and richly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Pull off the tops of the chiles. Place the salsa ingredients in a food processor or blender and purée. Set aside.
In a bowl, toss together the shrimp and recado until the shrimp are evenly coated. Thread onto skewers. Grill, turning frequently, until crusty and deep brown, about 4 minutes. Serve with the salsa.
The Little Dishes of Mexico
By Reed Hearon
Photographs by Laurie Smith
Price: $15.95, paperback
ISBN: 0-81 18-1009-7
Reprinted by permission
Plus: 50 more Mexican recipes in Mexico section.
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified March 2007
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