The Lemonator and I do not need much excuse to make tasty Mexican food for dinner. And as excuses go, Cinco De Mayo is a pretty good one! After mass, we dropped by the farmers market to pick up veggies for the week and lots of citrus.
When preparing a meal like this that involves lots of citrus juice, I think it makes matters a lot easier to spend some time juicing lots of lemons and limes at the outset so that you can just measure and pour later on. This is one of the few times when our electric citrus juicer comes in handy (a largely neglected birthday present for the Lemonator.
The cook must not go hungry during her preparations, so chips and salsa were in order. I tend to forget that I cannot be trusted around chips and salsa. That and French bread. Put some in front of me and it is gone before I know what hit me.
First, we put some of that lime juice to good use in our shrimp aguachile: lime juice, finely diced serrano pepper, crushed garlic and salt over fresh shrimp. Make sure that your shrimp are deveined! I hate deveining shrimp and was happy to find that mine had already been deveined for me. Mix together the lime juice, peppers and garlic, then pour them over the shrimp. Bonus points if you puree the peppers and garlic with the lime juice, but I liked the way the little flecks of pepper looked against the shrimp. Season with salt.
I figured out after I took this picture that I would need a lot of citrus juice to get the shrimp to “cook” evenly. You want everything to be covered by the citrus juice. I have heard that this dish is sometimes served quite raw, almost like sushi, but I prefer to let the citrus juice cook the shrimp more. Leave for several hours in the refrigerator, tossing occasionally to ensure even cooking, until the shrimp is pink and has a cooked texture. As with any raw product, obviously be careful that you are using very fresh shrimp. If you don’t like the idea of eating raw fish, you can also use cooked, but I would reduce the marinate time to more like 30 minutes or an hour to avoid making the shrimp rubbery and tough.
When they are done, they will look pink and cooked and pretty. Serve them with a bit of the marinade. They are delicious like this as an appetizer—cold and zesty and refreshing. To make them into a meal, you can pile them on top of a tostada with cucumber, red onion and avocado.
And more of our citrus juice goes into our margaritas. I like to use equal parts tequila and orange liquer over ice, topped with a mix of lime and Meyer lemon juice and about a teaspoon of agave nectar. Per Nicole’s suggestion, I added just the smallest amount of orange juice to my citrus juice mixture.
For salt rim, dip the glass into a bit of water…
And then a bit of salt.
Much better than sweet and sour mix.
The Lemonator assigned himself the responsibility of making skirt steak tacos with homemade tortillas. Recipe for the tortillas to follow.
I topped mine with chipotle garlic hot sauce and minced onion. The tortillas were incredible—warm, freshly made tortilla has to be on my top 20 list of the world’s tastiest foods. The Lemonator has promised that he will (1) blog the recipe and (2) attempt to make some for me using whole wheat flour next time. I can’t wait.