Mexican made easy

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers has lived and travelled through Mexico and learnt first hand from some of the country’s best chefs. Here – in the aftermath of Mexico’s Independence Day – Tommii shares the secrets of four classic Mexican dishes, that are sure to spice up your life

Mexican winter salad

The glowing bright hues of pomegranate, radish and orange make this a truly beautiful salad. Light and refreshing, it’s a lovely side dish with grilled chicken or fish, or makes a fabulous, light starter.

Feeds 4

Time: 15 minutes

sea salt
2 oranges
2 heads of fennel, trimmed and finely sliced
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced (deseeded if you like)
6 large radishes, finely sliced
seeds from 1 small pomegranate
small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
50g feta cheese, crumbled
Totopos (page 50), cut into little strips

For the dressing:
juice of 1 lime
pinch of sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100ml extra virgin olive oil

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Cut the peel and pith off the oranges. Slice the flesh thinly and put into a large bowl with all the other salad ingredients, apart from a few of the totopos and pomegranate seeds. Pour in the dressing and mix gently. Scatter the reserved totopos and pomegranate seeds over the salad before serving.

TIP: To remove pomegranate seeds easily, cut the fruit in half, hold it cut-side down over a bowl and tap the skin firmly with a wooden spoon. The seeds will simply drop out.

Queso fundido with chorizo

Queso fundido is Mexican fondue, normally made with a melting string cheese from Oaxaca. At the restaurant we use a mixture of oozing mozzarella and a tasty mature Cheddar, which we bake until melted and then scoop into hot flour tortillas. The fondue can be made with just cheese, or have a variety of extras sitting on top or under the surface. This recipe is a favourite at Wahaca; the slow-cooked chorizo sauce goes amazingly with the gooey cheese.

Feeds six as a starter

Time: 30 minutes

3 large plum tomatoes
½ tablespoon olive oil
165g chorizo, skinned and roughly chopped
1 small Spanish onion, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tequila
1 teaspoon tomato purée
2 teaspoons roughly chopped oregano
125g mozzarella cheese, grated
75g Cheddar cheese, grated
warm flour tortillas, to serve

Preheat the oven 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

With a knife, mark a cross on the bottom of each tomato, just piercing the skin. Cover with boiling water and count to 20. Drain, run under cold water, then peel and dice them into small cubes.

Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil and chorizo. Cook for 5 minutes, letting the chorizo release its fat and breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, celery, garlic and cumin and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper, add the tequila, tomatoes and purée and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated and you are left with a ragu-like chorizo sauce. Finally, add the oregano and check for seasoning.

Spread the mixture in the bottom of a gratin dish. Mix the 2 cheeses together in a bowl, then sprinkle over the chorizo mixture. Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted. You could also put the gratin dish under the grill if you prefer. Serve with warm tortillas.

Recipes taken from Wahaca – Mexican Food at Home by Thomasina Miers, published by Hodder & Stoughton, £20.

For Tommi’s tips on how to make a wickedly dark Chocolate mousse and a mean margarita, don’t forget to log onto CD-Traveller tomorrow!

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