Tag Archives: jalapeno peppers

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

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This isn’t your grandma’s shrimp cocktail. Instead it is a fun twist with a spicy tomato sauce reminiscent of a chunky gazpacho. When paired with plump shrimp you will find yourself (and perhaps your guests) asking whether it is a shrimp cocktail or a shrimp gazpacho. Or maybe it is a little bit of both. Regardless of what you call it, if you are a fan of shrimp and like a bit of spice, it is good.

This recipe is inspired from one found on the Simply Recipes blog. If fresh tomatoes are in season, do use those but if they aren’t use good quality canned ones. I’ve done it both ways and both are good but there really isn’t any beating the flavor and texture of fresh tomatoes. You could serve this dish in traditional shrimp cocktail style as a first course or you could even serve it as the meal itself. Simply pair it with bread–corn bread would be particularly good.

So why not add these shrimp to your Cinco de Mayo menu?

MEXICAN SHRIMP COCKTAIL

1 pound medium shrimp, deveined and cooked

1 cup red onion, diced

1 cup peeled English cucumber, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced

1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes with their juices, chopped

OR

1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

1/3 cup cilantro, minced

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce, or more to taste

Up to 1 cup of lightly salted water

1 avocado, cut into chunks

  • Cut half of the shrimp into large chunks and set the other half aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chopped shrimp, onions, cucumber, celery, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and hot sauce. Stir gently.
  • Add the lightly salted water, one tablespoon at a time, until the shrimp cocktail has a consistency that you prefer.
  • Adjust the seasonings, adding more hot sauce if desired.
  • Divide into individual dishes and garnish with the avocado and whole shrimp.
    Serves 6-8

Roasted Tomatillo & Garlic Pork Chops

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I stumbled across tomatillos at the grocery store recently and immediately scooped them up. After all I haven’t seen a fresh tomatillo in years. Or at least since I moved to Europe anyway. Maybe they are available in some European stores but not in the ones I’ve been shopping at. So when I saw these little green fruits, which can also be called Mexican tomatoes, I didn’t stop to think about how I would use them; rather I bought them before they disappeared. And then I got them home and had to decide how to use these precious fruits.

Tomatillos are covered in a light brown papery husk which masks its firm green flesh. Once you peel off the outer husk you are left with what looks like an unripe tomato in both texture and appearance. They can be eaten raw or cooked and taste a bit like unripe tomatoes with a hint of lime juice. In fact, if you can’t find tomatillos green tomatoes and lime juice make an adequate substitute.

Tomatillos are commonly found in salsas or in sauces to top enchiladas but wanting to take advantage of actually having these little fruit, I wanted to keep their presentation simple. My answer came in the form of a slow roasted sauce that I then used to dress up simply seared pork chops. Cooking the tomatillos helps them release their tangy juices when when combined with slow roasted garlic cloves, makes for a flavorful topping for any grilled meat. I left my sauce chunky, but if you want a more sophisticated presentation, puree the roasted tomatillos and garlic with a stick blender before adding them to the pan with the pork chops.

ROASTED TOMATILLO & GARLIC PORK CHOPS

1 head garlic, skins removed

3 cups tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and chopped (about 8-10 tomatillos)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 teaspoons salt, divided

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 boneless pork chops seasoned with

1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Evenly distribute the chopped tomatillos, whole garlic cloves and jalapeno pepper over the prepared baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper over the pan.
  • Tossing occasionally, roast 25-30 minutes or until the garlic is very soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • Raise the temperature in the oven to 400.
  • Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet, or other heavy, oven-proof pan.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with the remaining salt, pepper and the garlic powder.
  • When the oil shimmers add the pork chops and sear on both sides until a brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Add the roasted tomatillo mixture to the skillet and place the skillet in the oven.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling.

Serves 6

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread

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I love cornbread and this spicy version doesn’t disappoint. It is slightly sweet without being too much so and the addition of jalapenos and Cheddar cheese adds complexity and makes it decidedly more sophisticated than your ordinary cornbread. It makes a tasty accompaniment to a spicy bowl of chili or corn and vegetable chowder  and in warmer weather a chilled gazpacho turning your soup into a full fledged meal. And since I prefer savory to sweet when it comes to breakfast I love eating a piece of this toasted and topped with a dab of butter. Now that is good.

JAPLAPENO-CHEDDAR CORNBREAD

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/3 cup canola oil

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup Greek yogurt

3/4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 4-ounce can minced jalapeno peppers

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a separate medium sized bowl whisk together the butter, canola oil, sugar and eggs until a thick slurry forms.
  • Add in the buttermilk and yogurt and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and using a rubber spatula, stir until just combined.
  • Fold in the jalapeno peppers and Cheddar cheese.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top of the bread is golden brown.
  • Let cool on a wire rack before slicing into wedges. The cornbread can be served either warm or at room temperature.

Serves 12

 

 

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