There are dozens of ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Beyond boxed taco shells heaped with beef and melted cheese, we envision a lighter and más auténtico menu.
Pulled from sparkling Mexican waters (or your grocer's freezer), nibble succulent wild shrimp, chilled for hours in a tangy sauce spiked with fresh herbs, tomatoes and chipotle chilies. The Mexican shrimp cocktail is all about the sauce, thicker and sweeter than ceviche, with an unexpected splash of orange soda. Scoop it up with crunchy corn tostadas or lettuce cups. For sipping, mix up a batch of lusciously light wine margaritas. Cool, bubbly and sans tequila (after all, “seis de Mayo” is a workday.
Diva Coctel de Camarones
Serves 6 to 8
14-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 small sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 chipotle chilies, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 bunch cilantro (or about 1/3 cup coarsely chopped)
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange soda (optional)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds medium cooked shrimp, tails off
1 seedless cucumber, diced
2 haas avocadoes, peeled and sliced
In a food processor or blender, whir together the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, chipotles and adobo, cilantro, mint, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, lime juice and vinegar. Pour the salsa into a large bowl, adding the ketchup and olive oil, stir to incorporate. Gently toss the cooked shrimp in the sauce and refrigerate for several hours (minimum of 1 hour). Just before serving, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary, garnishing with diced cucumber and avocado slices. Pass with extra lime wedges and your favorite hot sauce.
Limely Light Wine Margaritas
Makes 6 cocktails
Juice of 5 limes
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 mandarins
Agave nectar, to taste
4 ounces Cointreau
1 bottle pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
Coarse salt for rimming glasses, optional
Ice cubes, sparkling water, lime wedges, for serving
In a large pitcher, combine lime, lemon and mandarin juices with agave nectar, stirring to combine. Add Cointreau and wine; chill for 30 minutes. Just before serving, salt glass rims. Pour margaritas over ice with a splash of sparkling water. Serve with lime wedges.
Diva Confession: Homemade corn tortillas are worth the effort. Start with fresh masa if possible, or dried masa harina. Follow the directions on the bag. If you have a tortillas press, fabulous, if not--simply use your hands to pat out a seemingly reasonable circular shape. Cook the tortilla for 30 seconds in a skillet over medium-high heat, flipping again for another 30 seconds. Cover dough with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Keep tortillas warm in a clean towel.