Monday, May 7, 2012

Seís de Mayo: Appetizers

This is the second post of four on our Seís de Mayo party. We decided to start off our little party with chips, guacamole, and salsa. At the last minute, Ann ran out to the store and came back with a bundle of asparagus and asked me to fry them. Thanks honey!

Oven-Baked Tortilla Chips

Fried chips are awesome! But cranking up a big pot of oil at home, stinking up the house, and having to dispose of a lot of oil is not awesome. So these chips are a compromise. Ann tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and pimentón before placing them in a hot oven on an icing grate so that they cooked on both sides evenly without having to turn them.

Guacamole

Avocados, lime juice, cilantro, green onions, minced green chile, diced tomatoes. Done.

Mango-Tomatillo Salsa

Salsa is a simple condiment theme on which you can make endless variations once you learn the mantra: fruit, onions, acid. Fruit, onions, acid. Easy. Tomatoes are the fruit that we most often associate with salsa, but tomatoes are not in season now. I found some ripe mangos and some tomatillos to counterbalance them. From the vanilla extract in the upper left corner, you see sambal oelek (crushed chile paste), mangos, a poblano, green onions, cilantro, salt, brown sugar, tomatillos, limes, and garlic.

Years ago, I hit on the trick of adding brown sugar and vanilla to my mango salsa quite by accident and I love the result. So does everyone  else. This salsa has it all going on: sweet, tart, spicy, salty, crunchy, smooth, fresh.


Fried Asparagus with Cilantro-Pimentón Aïoli

I really was trying to avoid frying things, but Ann brought these asparagus home for me to fry as an appetizer. It is so difficult to keep fried food hot and palatable for guests.

The double breading station is something that is best left to the professional kitchen. This whole dish is, really. Doing it without a deep fryer is a pain. The flour is seasoned with salt, pepper, and pimentón.

From left to right, cilantro-pimentón aïoli, olives, and melted jalapeño jelly. I crushed garlic and cilantro stems with salt to flavor the aïoli. The aïoli and the jalapeño jelly are for dipping the asparagus.

Stay tuned for two more posts about this feast.

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