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Ensalada de Nopales

20 Jun

Watch my video debut with the Taste of The Times where I make Ensalada de Nopales,  MexItaliano style!

Look for another great video for Risotto Milanese Mexicana,  next Wednesday at Taste of The Times!

Ensalada de Nopales

  • 6-8 Cactus Paddles (Nopal)
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 6-7 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, packed
  • 1-2 Chile Jalapeño or Fresno chiles
  • 1/4 cup Queso cotija or Queso Fresco
  • 2 cups fresh baby arugula
  • 1/2 ripe avocado sliced.
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon White Basalmic Vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Clean the nopal to remove all the needles and nubs on each paddle.
  2. Julienne each nopal into small strips about 2 inches long.
  3. Rinse and then blanch the nopales in boiling, lightly salted water for about 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse the nopal with cold water or shock on ice bath.
  5. Slice the onion, halve the cherry tomatoes, and chop the cilantro. Combine with the nopales in a mixing bowl.
  6. Stem, devein, and remove the seeds from the chiles and dice then add them to the bowl.
  7. Season with salt and pepper. Dress with the olive oil and vinegar and mix well.
  8. Wash and spin the arugula, then place on serving dish or bowl as a bed for the salad.
  9. Empty contents of mixing bowl on top of the arugula. Sprinkle with the crumbled cotija, top with the avocado slices and serve!

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

25 May Integrale Milanese "Mexicana"

For those of you who read my blog, you know that one of my all-time favorite ingredients is saffron. This delicious, but expensive, spice has a unique one-two culinary punch. It has a wonderful hay-like, flowery-honey flavor when used correctly, and it brings a very unique yellow color to whatever it’s cooked with.  I use it whenever I get the chance to use it in rice, chicken, or seafood dishes. Shortly after I won the 4thAnnual Marx Foods Morel Blogger Recipe Challenge, I jumped at the chance to enter another Marx Foods challenge, the Marx Foods Integrale Gauntlet. The Gauntlet is a 3 round challenge with the star being Integrale Rice!

Integrale Milanese "Mexicana"

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

Integrale rice is an Italian brown rice that is  really not a separate variety of risotto rice, but rather a way of processing the grain so that the rice maintains its raw fiber shell, vitamin B1, B5, B6, proteins and minerals. It is incredibly healthy and only grown and harvested by organic means.

Integrale Rice

Integrale Rice

It has a slightly nutty taste and a firmer texture that enhances the “bite” of your risotto! Since this is a contest sponsored by Marx Foods, they kindly sent out 1 kilo of this amazing Integrale rice to use in my recipe!

When I approached the planning of  my dish for the contest, I knew that I wanted to use saffron, I really thought that it would complement the nutty flavor of the brown rice, but I wanted to add my own twist, using the Mexican flavors that I love as well.  In my mind, I had visions of two different dishes, Risotto Milanese and Paella. Risotto Milanese being a classically rich risotto, made with bone marrow, Parmesan cheese, and of course saffron; and Paella Valencia, the mother of all rice dishes in Spain, made with Spanish Chorizo, seafood, chicken, roasted red peppers, paprika, and finally, of course, the saffron. So, doing a bit of simulation in my head (as all engineers do from time to time), I  would use the basic concept of Risotto Milanese and add tequila in place of the white wine, and mix in a bit of the essence of Paella Valencia, somewhat deconstructed, using fresh Mexican chorizo instead of the Spanish chorizo. So what place does Tequila have in a risotto you may ask? I believe that alcohol  opens up the rice and prepares it to absorb the liquids introduced into the risotto. So why not use Tequila, and using Añejo Tequila would give the risotto another unique dimension of sweet,  “oak-y-ness” flavor once the harsh alcohol cooks off.  I would finish off the risotto with a mantecatura of butter and Manchego cheese. Manchego differs from Parmigiano-Reggiano in that it is made from sheep’s milk rather than cow’s milk. The cheese has a well developed, creamy flavor, with a distinctive, but not t0o overwhelming tangy aftertaste that is characteristic of sheep’s milk. It is the mother of all Spanish cheeses, it just sings “Marry me” to the saffron!

So I set about making the chorizo fresh on Monday night. I have a standard recipe that I learned some time ago in Mexico. I also prepared my chicken stock on Monday as well.  Having given some time for the chorizo to “cure” a few days to enhance its flavors, it was time to get dirty and get to the challenge! Risotto, once the technique is mastered, is a wonderful way to start a meal, or a stunning side to accompany any protein. Just a sidebar on Integrale rice. It is a slightly different beast, because of the raw grain shell. It takes a bit more stock and a bit more time to cook. I had to use about a cup more stock and I added about 10 minutes of cooking time to get it perfectly al dente. With some constant attention, a bit of pampering, and a shot or two of Don Julio, in about 30 minutes you have a deliciously rich risotto that will be sure to bless any table! Now I call on everyone to support us and go out and vote for this dish on May 30th!

Integrale Milanese "Mexicana"

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

 

 

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

  • 1 ½ cups of Integrale Rice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2  medium yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup Tequila Añejo
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra vigin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon saffon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ lb. Mexican Chorizo
  • ¼ cup Manchego Cheese
  • 5 cups Chicken Broth
  1. Place the 5 cups of broth  in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Add the saffron to the broth and keep very warm.
  3. Meanwhile, take the chorizo and heat over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  4. Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Once it is hot, add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, but not browning!
  6. Add the rice and stir with your Girariso to combine.
  7. Add the Tequila and cook until it is completely absorbed.
  8. Start adding the stock about 1 cup at a time and stirring constantly until each cup of stock is completely absorbed before adding the next. After 4 cups of stock have been added, start tasting the rice (or about 20 minutes)
  9. When the rice is al dente, remove from heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the cheese and stir vigorously.
  10. Plate the risotto and sprinkle with the chorizo. Garnish with fresh parsley or fresh oregano.
  11. SERVE IMMEDIATELY!
Integrale Milanese "Mexicana"

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

Tlacoyos de Frijol

20 Feb Blue Corn Tlacoyos
Blue Corn Tlacoyo

Blue Corn Tlacoyo with nopales, salsa roja, and queso fresco

One of the things that I love about Mexico is the open air markets that pop up across neighborhoods throughout the city each day. These bazaars are called Tianguis. In my suegras (mother-in-law)neighborhood, Tianguis is usually on Sundays and Wednesdays, but you do not have to travel very far to find another local Tianguis on any given day. For me, I just love wandering through these markets, especially once I get to the section that is selling food. One memory that I have is going to a Tianguis with my suegra and I stopping by this stall with a little old lady and her large comal, a pot of refried beans, and a large bowl of fresh corn masa. My suegra put up three fingers and the little old lady took a ball of masa, formed a thick tortilla in her hands, stuffed it with beans, and flipped it back and forth between her two hands. Once she has formed a large, mostly flat, football shaped cake, she slapped it on the hot comal. A few minutes later, I had this delicious toasted treat called a Tlacoyo.

Yellow corn Tlacoyo

Yellow corn Tlacoyo topped with sour cream, nopales, salsa verde, and queso fresco

Tlacoyos are a simple, but delicious antojito that are oval shaped fried or toasted cakes made of masa. They are similar to fresh corn tortillas, but are somewhat torpedo or football shaped and fatter. They are usually stuffed with refried beans, requeson, fava beans, or chicharon (pork rinds) or other ingredients. The toasted or fried Tlacoyo is traditionally consumed with only salsa and cheese. We usually just pile on some fresh sautéed nopales, salsa, and cheese, but you can experiment with all sorts of toppings here. Start with some shredded chicken or chorizo and don’t stop until you have topped it with some fresh queso canasta or queso cotija!

Forming your Tlacoyo takes a bit of skill and a LOT of practice. As I made them, I had a few failures, but by the end, we had made a few perfect Tlacoyos to shoot and eat! Maybe someday in the future I will shoot my own videos, but until then, you can view a YouTube video on how to make Tlacoyos here : How to make Tlacoyos.

Duo de Tlacoyo

Duo de Tlacoyo

Tlacoyos de Frijol

  • Frijoles de Olla
  • Salsa Roja or Salsa Verde (see below)
  • Sauteed Nopales (see below)
  • Queso Fresco or Queso Cotija
  • 2 cups Blue Corn Masa Harina or Maseca Masa Harina
  • Water

1. In a large mixing bowl dump in the masa harina and make a well in the center.

2. Start adding water with about 1/2 cup at first then mix in the masa just as you would to make fresh pasta dough.

3. Continue to add water at little bit at a time until you form one cohesive mass of dough, it should be a little bit on the wet, tacky side.

4. At this point you can follow the YouTube video or you can follow my method (warning: this takes a bit of practice to perfect and it is difficult to write a procedure!) Take a little larger than a golf ball size bit of masa and form an oblong mass, take it to a tortilla press and LIGHTLY press out a rather thick tortilla.

5. Take the thick tortilla and spread some beans down just the center of the tortilla. Then fold one side halfway in and then the other side halfway in, then fold down the top and bottom to cover the beans completely.

6. Take it back to the tortilla press and press it out lightly to form a long torpedo shaped, or football shaped thick tlacoyo.

7. Place it gently on your heated comal and toast well on both sides.

9. Once you have all your tlacoyos toasted, spead a bit of corn oil on both sides of the tlacoyo with your finger or a brush, then fry until crisp and golden.

10. Take your tlacoyo, spread some fresh sautéed nopales, put a liberal spoonful of salsa on top of the nopales, then add some crumbled cheese and serve!

Fresh Sauteed Nopales

 

  • 6-8 Nopales (Cactus Paddles)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
  • Pinch of Salt  

1. Clean the nopales by cutting off the needles and the nodes, and then cut the stem and the edges off the paddles.

2.  Cut each nopal into thin strips about 1 inch long in length.

3. Once they are all cleaned and cut, place in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes or until tender.

4. Rinse under cold water.

5. Take a medium sautee pan and about a tablespoon of corn oil and heat until shimmering.

6. Add the nopales and sautee for about 2 minutes.

7. Add the oregano and salt and toss well. Continue to cook for about 1 or 2 more minutes.

8. Serve!

 

Salsa Verde 

  • 3 Tomatillos
  • 6 chile jalepeño
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 peel of onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro loosely packed
  • Salt to taste

1. Toast the tomatillos, jalepeño, and garlic on a comal.

2. Once they are all nice a toasted (but not burnt!), halve the tomatillos, peel the garlic, and remove the stems from the jalepeño. You can also remove the seeds and veins from the jalepeño for a slightly milder salsa.

3. Place in a food processor with the onion and the cilantro.

4. Pulse until you get the consistency you desire, less for a chunky salsa, more for a smoother salsa.

5. Spoon into a serving bowl, add the salt, and mix well.

Blue Corn Tlacoyos

Blue Corn Tlacoyos with beans, nopales, salsa roja, and cheese

 

Las Posadas

12 Dec Pozole Rojo

Christmas is such a magical time or year, no more so than in Mexico, where Christmas time means Las Posadas!  Las Posadas is a time-honored tradition in Mexico, actually throughout Latin America, which celebrates the journey of Mary and Joseph as they searched for a place of shelter from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Traditionally, a Posada is arranged throughout a neighborhood, with a different house holding the celebration each night, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th. My family in Mexico celebrates it amongst the entire extended family, usually assigning a day to each relative. It is typically a 9 day festival, called a novena, which represents the 9 months of Mary’s pregnancy.  The hosts of the Posada act as the innkeepers, and the children and adults attending the Posada act as the peregrinos (the pilgrims), who have to request lodging by going up to the house and singing a traditional song asking for shelter.  The innkeepers respond to the pilgrims in song as well. either denying, or allowing the pilgrims to enter the house.  Once inside a great festival ensues, where there is further singing, some pray the rosary, the children break piñatas, and my favorite part, the eating!

This year we decided to hold our own Posada at the DelGrosso household.  So we invited some friends, planned the menu, and started cooking!  

In Mexico, the traditional dish for the holidays is Pozole. Pozole is, like most dishes in Mexico, derived from Aztec tradition. The word pozole is Aztec (Nahuatl) in origin and means “foamy” as the Aztecs believed hominy resembled a foamy froth.  It had a religious significance in Pre-Colombian Mexico as corn was a sacred plant to the Aztecs; therefore, it was only made on special occasions.  After the Spanish conquest, some of the ingredients changed, but the corn and the tradition remained.

Pozole Rojo

Pozole Rojo

So our Posada, being a special occasion, called for Pozole! We planned to serve Pozole Rojo, which is the version of Pozole typically made in my wife’s family. And we also planned to serve Sopes…

Sopes are small antojitos or appetizers which are essentially a slightly thick tortilla with the sides pinched in to form what I call a “boat”. They are then fried and then topped with refried beans and crumbled cheese, lettuce, onions, red or green salsa. There are countless number of different variations to sopes all throughout Mexico.  Sometimes other ingredients (mostly meat) are also added to create different tastes and styles of sopes. We have a standard sope we make in our family, which is simply refried black beans garnished with diced onion, shredded lettuce, cheese, and salsa.

Sopes con Frijol

Sopes with beans, onion, lettuce, and queso fresco.

 The recipes below have been modified a bit for smaller yields. We obviously scaled up our recipe to serve 10 to 12 guests. 

Basic Chicken Stock for Pozole

  • 1 whole free-range chicken
  • 1 medium white onion, quartered
  • ½ head of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • Stems from a bunch of Cilantro
  • About 3 quarts water
  1. Take the stems and tie them together with some butchers twine.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot together with the water.
  3. Bring to a boil on medium heat then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for about an hour, or until the chicken is done and the legs pull from the rest of the chicken.
  5. Take the chicken from the pot and strain the stock with a medium mesh sieve.
  6. Once the chicken is cool, shred the meat from the chicken by hand and reserve.
  7. Use immediately or cool and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze.


Pozole Rojo

The Soup

  • 2 cans (2 lbs.) of Pozole (Corn Hominy)
  • 10-12 Chile Guajillos
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/8 of a medium white onion
  • Chicken Stock (from recipe above)
  • Shredded Chicken reserved from Chicken Stock recipe

The Garnishes

  • Sliced radish
  • Shredded lettuce.
  • Diced Onion
  • Dried Mexican Oregano
  1. Rinse and clean the Pozole by hand, removing the “seed” or hard kernel from each piece of hominy.
  2. Toast the guajillos on a griddle similar to method described in Barbacoa recipe.
  3. Once the guajillos are roasted, place the chiles in hot water and let sit, covered for 30 minutes.
  4. While the guajillos soak, place the chicken stock and corn together in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil on medium-low heat until the corn “blooms” or opens up. This should take about 10 or 15 minutes.
  5. Take the guajillos and clean the chiles by removing the stems, seeds and viens.
  6. Place the chiles in a blender with a clove of garlic, about 1/8 of the onion, and about 3 cups of chicken stock.
  7. Puree the chiles and force through a medium mesh sieve once the corn has “bloomed”.
  8. Continue to simmer the pozole for about 5 minutes to incorporate the flavors of the chile.
  9. Salt to taste. It is important to salt AFTER the corn has “bloomed”. Salt will inhibit this process.
  10. Serve with shredded shredded chicken, finely minced onion, sliced radish, shredded lettuce, and a pinch of dried Mexican oregano.

    Pozole Rojo

    Pozole Rojo


Frijoles de Olla

  • 1 cup of beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ of a white onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 quart of water
  1. Clean and sort the beans, removing any stones, broken beans, bad beans, etc.
  2. Place all ingredients in the Olla and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 90 minutes or until beans are very tender, adding more water if necessary.

    La Olla

    La Olla – My Olla.


Sopes “Boats”

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups warm water
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Mix the masa harina and the salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the water to the flour, make sure that the water is warm.
  3. Press the dough with your fingers and the palms of your hands as if you were kneading bread dough. If at any point through the tortilla making process the dough seems too dry or too wet, add a little more water or masa to the dough.
  4. Take a piece of the masa dough and shape it into a ball the size of a plum, or slightly large golf ball. Make about 16-18 balls from the dough.
  5. Take two pieces plastic from a ziploc type plastic bag and cut them to the shape of the surface of the tortilla press. Open the tortilla press and lay one piece on the press. Place the masa ball in the center. Place another piece over the masa ball. Gently close the press and press down lightly, until the dough has spread to a diameter of 4 or 5 inches. You want the circle to be a little bit smaller and thicker than a tortilla, as you will be pinching up the sides.
  6. Heat a griddle or a large skillet on high heat. Working one at a time, hold a tortilla in your hand, carefully removing the plastic on each side. Allow the tortilla to rest half on your hand, and half hanging down, and gently lay the tortilla down on to the skillet. Cook the tortilla on the hot pan for 30 seconds to a minute on the first side.  Gently flip the tortilla over for about 10 seconds.
  7. After 10 seconds take the tortilla from the griddle and place on your work surface. Place the fully cooked side up.
  8. Using your thumb, index finger and your middle finger, gently and carefully pinch in the sides all the way around the tortilla to form the “boat”.
  9. Once your sope is formed, place it back on the griddle to cook a bit more, about 30 seconds on each side.
  10. Repeat the process with each ball of dough until you have about 16 or 18 boats.

    The Sope "Boats"

    My Sope “Boats”


Sopecitos de Frijol

  • 16 to 18 Sopes “boats”
  • 1 cup of Frijoles de Olla

Garnishes

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Queso fresco (crumbled)
  • Diced White Onion
  1. Place a medium sauté pan on high heat with about a tablespoon of corn oil.
  2. Take about a tablespoon of the white onion and cook until onion begins to become translucent.
  3. Put the beans in the pan with about ¼ cup of the bean broth.
  4. Cook for a few minutes and bring the beans to a slight boil.
  5. Begin mashing the beans with a potato masher and mash them until the beans are nice and creamy.
  6. Remove the beans from the heat.
  7. Put your skillet or griddle on the stove and put it on high heat.
  8.  Once it comes to temperature. Take some corn oil (I put it in a squeeze bottle) and put about a tablespoon on the cooking surface. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, work in batches and fry each boat in the oil until they are crisp (but not browned), put a little more oil on the cooking surface when needed.
  9. Once your boats are all crisped, you start assembling the sopes. Take a rubber spatula and spread some of the beans on each sope and place on a serving platter.
  10. Then take a pinch of diced onion, a pinch of shredded lettuce, and a pinch of queso freso and place on each sope. When I say a pinch, you can use your own judgment here. Put as much as you want on each sope!
  11. Finish with dollop of fresh salsa.

    Sopes con Frijol

    Sopes con Frijol

Test Kitchen #2

3 Nov Lobster Ceviche Veracruz

You ever have one of those days where everything you were doing just did not turn out right? Well, Test Kitchen #2, in many ways, turned into one of those days. It all started with the Epic 2011 Halloween Nor’easter.  For those of you who do not have the pleasure of living in New England in the winter, a Nor’easter is a brutal type of winter snowstorm.  This storm knocked out power to more than 160,000 in Maine, including my home. Then on Monday morning, on my way to work, a miracle occurred; Power had also been knocked out to the Rochester Electronics facilities in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Test Kitchen Sunday suddenly became Test Kitchen Monday!

My agenda for Test Kitchen #2 was as follows:

  1. Test out a Oaxacan inspired ceviche based on an original recipe from Rick Bayless, but adding my own twist by substituting pilloncillo for chocolate Abuelita (a sweetened Mexican chocolate).
  2. Test out a Yucatan inspired ceviche with Coconut, Mint, and Mango.
  3. Recreate the Veracruz version of ceviche.
  4. Plate all three together in a “tour” of ceviche. That is have about 4 ounces of ceviche from three different regions in Mexico.
  5. Of course, take pictures and document my day.

So early Monday morning (around 11:00AM) I headed off to obtain my supplies. I went out to Golden Harvest once again.  I then headed to Taylor Lobster to get my fresh lobsters. This time, I wanted to give you a little bit more about my friendly nieghborhood fish monger, so I took some photos inside the store. Those pictures will be posted on the Facebook page for this food blog www.facebook.com/delgrossofoodblog.  So having my fresh produce, and my fresh lobsters, I headed home to create!

Taylor Lobster

Taylor Lobster in Kittery, Maine

I prepared my lobsters once again by placing them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to put them to “sleep” while I boiled my pot of salted water. I added the aromatics to the pot, and covered it. Once the pot came to a boil, I placed three lobsters in the pot, turned off the heat, and set the timer for 8 minutes.  Once the 8 minutes were up, I took out each lobster and placed in an ice bath for 2 minutes or so to: 1. To immediately stop the cooking and 2. To cool the lobsters faster so I could remove the meat. Once the lobsters were cool, I took the claws and the tails and removed the meat. The three lobsters yielded about 12 ounces of lobster meat (about 4 ounces each).  I chopped up the lobster meat and placed it in a covered glass container in the refrigerator while I prepared the marinades.

Lobster

Mmmmm Lobster!

To cut to the chase, the Oaxacan ceviche was a total disaster.  The combination of the grapefruit juice, chocolate, and chile pasilla just did not work at all. The bittersweet flavor of the chocolate, together with the tart acidic grapefruit juice did not balance well with the chile pasilla. I did not have much lobster to test out the original recipe so I moved on to the Yucatan ceviche. This was not nearly such a disaster, the flavors balanced well, but it still needed something, like cilantro. The problem with that was I was already featuring cilantro in another ceviche and did not want to repeat ingredients.

After one complete failure, and the other miss with the Yucatan ceviche, my trio was suddenly becoming a solo act. I instantly thought of an episode of “Iron Chef” that I once watched. One of the challengers put up a trio of some dish for judging (I do not remember what the “secret ingredient” was).  It was quite ambitious and it looked beautiful. Unfortunately, one of the trio fell short, so the judges blasted the entire dish. One of the judges mentioned that when you present a trio, they compete against each other rather than compete against the other chef’s single plate. When presenting a trio, all three better be spot on or the whole dish risks judgment on each individual serving. Having that thought clearly in my mind, I switched gears and focused on my original dish.

So the safe bet was to make the Lobster Ceviche Veracruz in a chilled avocado soup (Ceviche de Langosta Veracruzano en sopa fria de aquacate). So I took another 4 ounces of the lobster meat and marinated it for 30 minutes in the juice of 2 limes, 1 lemon, and 1 orange.  While this was marinating, I minced my red onion, tomato, chile serrano, cilantro. After 30 minutes, I drained the citrus well, then I mixed in the rest of the ingredients. 

The Citrus

Citrus is Cool!

For the avocado soup, I chopped up ½ of a yellow onion and sautéed the onion in 1 tablespoon of corn oil and 1 tablespoon of butter until the onion became translucent and began to darken slightly on the edges. I then added about ¼ cup of cilantro. I let the cilantro cook until it just began to wilt, then I placed the entire contents of the pan into a blender with 6 cups of warm chicken stock (make sure the fat has been completely been separated from the stock!).  At this point, cut up and scoop out the flesh from 3 Haas avocados and put in the blender.  Then carefully pulse the blender to puree setting and puree until smooth.  To ensure that your avocado soup does not oxidize and turn from its delicious green to a ugly brown color, squeeze in the juice from 1 lime. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Onions

Sweating Onions

 

Adding the Cilantro

Adding the cilantro to the onions

Once the soup was chilled, I took a shallow bowl, took out my food mold, and placed it in the center of the bowl. I scooped the ceviche into the food mold and filled it to the top. I then poured the avocado soup around the ceviche with the mold still in place. Once I had about ½ inch or so of soup in the bowl, I carefully removed the mold, then I placed a cilantro leaf and a tortilla chip in the ceviche and the dish was ready to serve! Although I failed to accomplish my objectives, I did end up with a result. A beautiful, professional dish to serve at my MasterChef audition on Saturday. There are a few adjustments that I need to make, adding a pinch more salt, using the juice of only 1 lime, and adding a bit more chile to give it some kick to contrast the cool, refreshing avocado soup, but overall it was a delicious dish!

Lobster Ceviche Veracruz

Ceviche de Langosta Veracruzano en Sopa Fria de Aguacate

Ceviche de Langosta Veracruzano

  • 8 to 10 ounces of lobster meat (partially cooked. 2 one and a quarter pound lobsters will yield approx. 8 ounces)
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice(Valencia or Navel)
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 1 Chile Serrano, seeded and membranes removed, diced
  • ½ cup of fresh cilantro, loosely packed, chopped fine
  • Pinch of salt to taste (al gusto)
  1. Bring 1 large stockpot filled with water, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 bay leaves, and 4 sprigs of thyme to a boil.
  2. Once the water boils, add up to two lobsters at a time, turn off heat and cover.  Blanche lobsters for about 6-8 minutes.
  3. After 6-8 minutes, remove the lobsters and quickly shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking. After a few minutes in the ice-cold water, remove them from the ice bath.
  4. Go about removing the meat from the lobster.
  5. Once you have removed the meat from the tails and the claws, you can press out the leg meat.  Chop the lobster meat into bit size pieces.
  6. Combine the citrus in a non-reactive bowl (preferably glass or stainless) with the lobster and place covered in a refrigerator for about 30 – 45 minutes.
  7. While the lobster “cooks” in the citrus, prepare and combine all the other ingredients in bowl.
  8. Once the lobster has soaked for no more than 45 minutes, take it from the refrigerator and mix with the other ingredients.
  9. Plate immediately and serve with a slice of avocado, some saltine crackers, tortilla chips, or tostadas.

Chilled Avocado Soup

  • ½ of a yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon of corn oil
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 3  Haas Avocados
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 lime
  • Salt (al Gusto)
  1. Chop the onion and place in a hot sauté pan with the corn oil and the melted butter. Cook until the onion becomes translucent and just begins to brown on the edges.
  2. Add the cilantro and cook until the cilantro wilts.
  3. Put the onions and cilantro into a blender with 6 cups of chicken stock.
  4. Scoop out the flesh of 3 avocados and place into the blender.
  5. Carefully puree to a smooth consistency and place in a covered glass container or bowl in the refrigerator. Once it is chilled, it is ready to serve.