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Mexican Cooking Project #5


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#1 Leslie

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 11:49 PM

I'm in. :rolleyes:

(admin note: the threads on Project #4 have been merged and since there is not enough room in the title for the full names, here they are):

Pescado a la Veracruzana & Coctel de Camarones (and variations).

Yum!

#2 Jaymes

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 01:20 AM

Omni had said she wanted to get her Sopa de Lima in line, but since she's not back, Cristina and I have been chatting. We think that it's probably a good idea to do a seafood something for project #4, and do Omni's soup after that.

One of the most 'tipico' Mexican dishes is fish 'Veracruz style.' Red snapper (huachinango) is the traditional choice, but you can make it with anything. I've got several recipes, but have absolutely no doubt that Cristina has a fabulous one, so I think we'll get her to post hers, and then I'll post the one I use most often.

Also, seafood cocktails in Mexico are completely different than the ones we gringos are accustomed to. They are served in a stemmed glass of some kind....either a pilsner or, most typically, a 'copa,' which is a goblet or schooner, like we'd serve beer in. Rather than just three or four dry shrimp covered in a horseradish sauce, the shrimp is in a spicy tomato-based broth, which you eat with a spoon. Think 'Mexican seafood gazpacho.' The cocktail is usually topped with slices of avocado, and it's served with saltines, hot sauce of some sort (like Tapatio), and extra limes for squeezing over. Shrimp cocktail is very popular, but so are mixed cocktails containing squid and other types of seafood. These mixed cocktails are often called 'Campechana' which can mean 'combination' or, according to some sources, refers to Campeche, a Mexican state on the Gulf.

When I entertain, it's usually with a Mexican theme. I've got lots of table decorations, and I use a colorful serape as the tablecloth. As I mentioned to Cristina, Cocteles de Camarones are my standard first course. They're quite simple, so it shouldn't be too much to do both the shrimp cocktail, and the fish main course. Or folks could select one or the other.

We both think that these two dishes would be great for project #4. Any input, amigos?

The Voice of America


#3 cristina

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 01:33 AM

<falls out of her chair laughing>

What she said. :( :rolleyes:
Mexico Cooks!

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

#4 Jaymes

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 01:39 AM

Well, hell, I type fast. What can I say?

Stop laughing and post your fish recipe. :rolleyes:

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#5 SeaGal

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:08 AM

Did you already edit your typo, or am I just slow? :rolleyes:

Great ideas for seafood. I think both coctel de camarones/campechana and the snapper (or whatever) Verecruzana sound really good. Interestingly enough, I've seen and tasted recipes for the shrimp using kethup, tomato juice, and/or orange juice.

There's been some lovely snapper in the market lately, so I'm ready to do both of these.

Jan
Jan
Seattle, WA USA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."
--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

#6 tanabutler

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:13 AM

I wanna see that typo pronto or I want someone to PM me and tell me what it said.

#7 cristina

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:15 AM

Man, that Jaymes has fingers of lightning.

OK gang, here's our Mexican cooking project for the week.

Pescado a la Veracruzana

Preheat the oven to 325-350*

Equipment:
An oval baking dish big enough to hold the whole fish
A large heavy skillet
A two-tined fork

Ingredients:
One whole fish, about 3 pounds
---most typically, this dish is made with red snapper, but feel free to use
some other meaty and delicious white-flesh fish
Coarse salt to taste
All purpose flour--optional
2 key limes
2 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes
Olive oil
1 large white onion
2 large cloves garlic
1 Mexican bay leaf
1 large sprig fresh oregano or 1/4 tsp crushed dried oregano
15 green olives (no pits), sliced
2 Tbsp raisins--optional but delicious
2 Tablespoons capers
2 chiles serrano

Ask your fishmonger to gut and scale the fish, leaving the head and tail on.

At home, wash the fish and pat it thoroughly dry, inside and out.

Using the fork, prick the fish on both sides and rub it with sea salt (about a teaspoon). Squeeze the juice of both key limes over both sides of the fish. Let it marinate, either refrigerated or not, for a couple of hours.

While the fish marinates, make the sauce.

Rough-chop the tomatoes.
Cut the onion in half (top to bottom) and thinly slice into half-rounds.
Mince the garlic and the chiles.

Heat about 3 Tbsp olive oil in the heavy skillet. Add the garlic, onion, and chile and sauté over medium heat until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and all the rest of the ingredients and allow the mix to cook until the tomatoes have given up a good bit of juice. The mixture will thicken slightly as it cooks. Remove from heat and set aside.

Now you have a choice. You can either lightly flour the fish and quickly fry it till it's golden brown on both sides (but not at all cooked through) or you can cook the fish in the sauce without frying it first. I prefer to fry the fish, but your mileage may vary.

If you fry the fish, pat the fish dry and very, very lightly flour the fish on both sides. Fry in the oval casserole dish, turning once, until each side of the fish is golden. Then continue as below.

If you don't want to include the frying step, continue to:

Pour the tomato sauce over the fish and bake, loosely covered, for about 20 minutes. Turn the fish over and allow it to bake (still loosely covered) for another 20 minutes or so. Baste the fish with the sauce a couple of times during the baking time.
_______________________________________

The fish is delicious served in its baking dish, accompanied by steamed white rice, which nicely sops up the sauce, and tortillas. A steamed, buttered vegetable such as broccoli or chayote mixed with carrots completes your dinner plate.
Mexico Cooks!

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

#8 cristina

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:21 AM

Typo? Somebody here made a MISTAKE? :( :( :(

I never saw it, unless of course I made it. :rolleyes:

Awright, get on to the fish, please. The recipe is up, coctel de camarón to follow.
Mexico Cooks!

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

#9 tanabutler

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:27 AM

Fresh, ripe tomatoes? That is probably easier for me than for someone in colder climes, but seriously, wouldn't this be a better summertime dish for that reason? Not to be a party pooper, but most store-bought tomatoes right now are going to be terrible.

#10 Jaymes

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:28 AM

Cristina....looks fabulous, as always. We expect no less!

It is, of course, very similar to my favorite recipe. I'll post it on the 'morrow. Along with my fave for the shrimp cocktails!

Thank you, Cristina. You are a treasure. :rolleyes:

The Voice of America


#11 mongo_jones

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:31 AM

i will join in this time. i have a snapper in my freezer (maybe a little smaller than 3 lbs--will adjust accordingly). does it have to be key limes? i have some limes--don't know if they're key limes or not. i will use pomi's chopped tomatoes (pffffft to tana).

how do these projects work? do we have a deadline or is this open-ended? the food plans for the next 3 days are kinda set.

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#12 Jaymes

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:37 AM

I had this in my word processor, so just cut and pasted:

Coctel de Camarones
(Mexican-style Shrimp Cocktail)


1 lb boiled, cleaned medium shrimp (see below)
1 1/2 C tomato juice
juice of 1/2 large lemon
1/2 C catsup
1/2 C chopped green onions
1 ripe tomato, seeded & chopped (you can peel them and when I have homegrown tomatoes with their skin a little tougher, I do, but most of the time, I don't bother. In winter, when you can't get flavorful tomatoes, I use those 'Nature Sweet' cherry tomatoes, and I don't peel them)
cilantro, chopped, to taste
1 jalapeno, minced (optional -- I only add this if I'm sure that my guests like it)
Dash or two Worchestershire
Tabasco, or Tapatio, or other hot sauce -- preferably Mexican if you can get it
avocados

Combine all ingredients except avocados. Chill for several hours. Traditionally served in large goblets, like beer schooners, called 'copas' in Mexico, or in large parfait or Pilsner glasses. Pour the cocktails into copas. Slice your avocadoes in half. Hold the half with the seed in one palm, and with a sharp knife, whack into the seed. Twist and pull and the seed should come out easily. Now whack the knife holding the seed onto the side of the sink, and the seed should fall into the sink. Now cut your avocado halves lengthwise again. Starting at the narrow end, you should be able to easily pull off the skin. On top of each 'copa' of shrimp cocktail, arrange two crescents of avocado. You can also decorate with a sprig of celery. Serve with saltines, extra slices of lime, and a selection of hot sauces.

Boiled shrimp:

I usually just make this with cooked shrimp I buy from the store, but it is obviously better when you boil the shrimp yourself.

24 shrimp, shells on
1 C water
1 clove garlic, chopped
dash pepper
1/3 C lime juice
1 jalapeno, chopped

Put everything in pot and boil until liquid reduced to approx 3/4 C. Add shrimp and cover and simmer 2-3 minutes, until shrimp are just beginning to curl. Remove shrimp immediately to cold water. When cooled, clean shrimp and chill.

Note: If you serve this with mixed seafood, such as fish, squid, etc., it becomes a 'Coctel Campechana,' or 'Mixed seafood cocktail in the style that women from Campeche make it.'

The Voice of America


#13 tanabutler

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:39 AM

i will join in this time. i have a snapper in my freezer (maybe a little smaller than 3 lbs--will adjust accordingly). does it have to be key limes? i have some limes--don't know if they're key limes or not. i will use pomi's chopped tomatoes (pffffft to tana).

how do these projects work? do we have a deadline or is this open-ended? the food plans for the next 3 days are kinda set.

Hey! I LIKE the Pomi tomatoes! Point that thing somewhere else.

#14 cristina

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:49 AM

This is a typical recipe for Mexican-style shrimp cocktail. As Jaymes mentioned, it is usually served, either small, medium, or large, in a stemmed glass. The medium size is commonly served in a fluted ice cream soda glass. The large is commonly served in a huge copa. In Mexico, these shrimp cocktails are normally served a tiempo--room temperature. Heathen that I am, I prefer them chilled. Try them both ways and you decide what you like.

Coctel de Camarón Estilo Mexicano

Equipment:
Heavy 4-quart pot
6 ice cream soda glasses

Ingredients
2 lbs raw headless shell-on shrimp, any size you prefer
3 quarts water
1 key lime
1 large clove garlic
10 whole black peppercorns
Coarse sea salt to taste

4 fresh ripe Roma tomatoes
1 medium white onion
1 large ripe Hass avocado
1 cucumber, peeled
2 or 3 chiles serrano, minced
Cilantro
2-3 Tbsp tomato catsup
Bottled salsa picante--Cholula is a wonderful brand, so is Valencia
Key limes


Clean the shrimp, leaving the shell on.

Bring the water, the garlic, and the peppercorns to a boil in the heavy pot. Add the juice of a key lime. Add the shrimp and cook until done. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the shrimp. Don't overcook, but do be sure they're done.

When the shrimp are cooked, remove from the broth. Let the shrimp cool enough to handle easily. Remove and discard the shells.

Remove the garlic and the peppercorns from the broth. Salt the broth to taste and reserve.

This is your choice point. Either allow the shrimp broth to come to room temperature OR refrigerate the broth and the shelled shrimp until chilled.

Assembling the cocteles
Dice the tomatoes, the onion, the cucumber, and the avocado. Chop the cilantro.

Divide the shrimp among the 6 glasses. Divide the vegetables (except the cilantro) among the glasses. Add about a teaspoon of tomato catsup to each glass. Fill each glass with the reserved shrimp broth.

Serve the cilantro separately, to be added to the shrimp cocktail to taste, in case any of your guests are cilantro-haters.

Serve with halved key limes and bottled salsa picante to be added to taste by each diner. The coctel de camarón is traditionally accompanied by crisp-fried tortillas and/or saltine crackers.
Mexico Cooks!

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

#15 cristina

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 03:02 AM

does it have to be key limes? i have some limes--don't know if they're key limes or not.


Key limes are the small, round ones. Regular limes are bigger and more oval.

Use whatcha got, I will refrain from calling the lime police.

how do these projects work? do we have a deadline or is this open-ended? the food plans for the next 3 days are kinda set.


And proceed at your own pace, we're doing all this on Mexican time. It's a lot like Indian time.
Mexico Cooks!

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.