Saturday, July 28, 2007

Due snacks messicani

It looks like I've been on a Mexican food cooking crave for a while.. I still have some pictures of a dinner I cooked about a month ago for Filipe and Vlasta, with recipes taken by the 'Mexican' cookbook by Jane Milton (the same I took the Horchata and Tequila sunrise recipes from). So, this is a good occasion to write about these two wonderful snacks I made: 'Nopales salsa' and 'Plantain chips'!

Salsa de nopales / Nopales salsa
What inspired me to try this recipe was the combination of nopales and tomatillos, both ingredients that I never used in my life.

Nopales are cactus leaves! I managed to find them at the Berkeley Bowl, my source of every vegetable and fruit delight :) They are really good. The only hard thing, is that you have to remove all the thorns before cooking them. It's a bit tedious, but after a few leaves you understand how to position your knife so that in one movement you can cut a few of them at a time.

Tomatillos are green, small tomatoes, usually sold still covered with a paper thin, crisp peel. So pretty :) They are harder and more sour than regular tomatoes. They went very well in this salsa.

2 fresh fresno peppers
4 nopales
3 spring onions (I didn't use these)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 red onion
5 fresh tomatillos
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup cider vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

Roast the peppers in an anti-sticking pan, place them in a plastic bag and let them sit there for 20 min. Then remove the skin and the seeds, and cut into small pieces.
Remove the thorns from the nopales paying attention not to be poked. :) Cut the nopales in strips and then into small pieces. Boil them in slightly salted water, adding the garlic cloves and the spring onions, if you have them. They should take ~15 min to get tender. Drain them, and run cold water on them to remove the sticky juices. Discard the garlic and the onions. Then, chop the red onions and the tomatillos finely. Place them in a bowl together with the nopales and the chillies, cover with vinegar, add salt, and soak at least overnight before eating the salsa with your favorite chips!

Plantain chips
Cut into thin slices two ripe plantains (skin must be black). The riper the plantains are, the more the chips will taste like bananas, whereas for less ripe plantains, the chips will taste more like potato chips. I like the ripe ones. :) Heat some vegetable oil (I used olive) in a pan. Fry the chips in hot oil, sprinkle with salt and chili pepper seeds and serve immediately. They are really delicious.

1 comment:

atrave said...

Yesterday I bought a pound of fresh garbanzo beans, for a while I wanted to "experiment" with them. I read that they are used as an appetizer in mexico, is there any particular recipe suggested in your book?