Milanesa and Calabacitas are paired to create a flavorful, colorful and satisfying dish that brings together the vibrant tastes of Latin American cuisine. It’s served over Salsa Roja, a taqueria style creamy-spicy sauce made from red jalapeño peppers that is swirled with cooling Mexican crema. As a final touch, the tang of Cotija cheese imparts robust and salty notes, where herby cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime make the dish sing.
Milanesa de Cerdo, also known simply as “Milanesa,” is an Argentine dish consisting of breaded and fried pork meat. Its crispy exterior and tender juicy interior make for a popular preparation that has been adopted in various Latin American countries.
Calabacitas is a traditional Mexican dish that highlights the natural goodness of zucchini and fresh corn. The name itself, “Calabacitas,” translates to “little squashes” in Spanish. The basic components include sliced zucchini, corn, and onions that are are sautéed together with garlic, chilies, cumin and oregano added to enhance the flavor profile.
Sometimes a vegetarian taco just hits the spot. Especially if it is made with crispy seasoned cauliflower and smothered in Hatch chile & corn salsa. These tacos are fantastico! They’re crispy, crunchy, fresh, spicy, herby, charred, creamy, tangy, colorful, and mighty tasty. Don’t wait ’til Taco Tuesday to give them a try!
Don’t get me wrong. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Javier’s in Las Vegas, but I simply wanted to serve the dish with more shrimp, and more rajas! So here I re-create a version of that fabulous Camarones con Rajas at home. It’s overloaded with succulent Alaska spot shrimp atop poblano chile strips and onions smothered in a garlic butter cream sauce.
Rajas con crema is a popular Mexican dish consisting of strips or slices (rajas in Spanish) of roasted poblano peppers in a cream sauce.
At Javier’s, we dined on aguachile del rey with bay scallop, shrimp, and octopus; empanadas de camarón; chile verde with braised pork and tomatillo sauce; and the camarones con rajas – all accompanied by their hand-shaken signature margaritas. This stunning upscale Mexican restaurant is located in the Aria Resort right next to the casino floor where hundreds of rope strands form an impressive canopy in the bar area.
While Javier’s prepares their dish with Mexican white prawns, I am elevating my dish with Alaska spot shrimp.
Alaska Spot Shrimp are sweet and plump. And if cooked correctly, they are luscious and much more tender than the Mexican prawn variety. With their slightly briny hint of the sea, spot shrimp taste like a sweet-buttery cross between lobster and Dungeness crab. They are just heavenly served over the poblano garlic butter cream.
Decades ago, I prepared Chilean Sea Bass a la Veracruzana at our home for an important business dinner party for 14 colleagues. The meal turned out to be a super success. But not because I was a stellar cook back then, but because rich, melt-in-the-mouth Chilean Sea Bass aka Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) is simply delicious and almost impossible to overcook due to its flesh high fat content.
The pan sauce was a heavenly combination of olive oil, fish juices, lime juices, chicken stock, garlic, bay and oregano. The tomatoes, olives, capers, and jalapeño complemented the fish with flavors from the Mediterranean along with a Mexican-style pizzazz.
Prior to the 1990s, we had never heard of Chilean Sea Bass. But once it started showing up on restaurant menus, it became a culinary darling. Thanks to that and basically good ol’ luck, I chose Sea Bass Veracruz for my evening’s main course…
Ha! Well, now with many years of cooking under my toque, guess what? My recipe is not much different than the one from a long time ago.
Populations went from sustainable, to overfished, and now back to sustainable again according to the Marine Stewardship Council. And although the fish I am using is called “Chilean” it is actually a product of Australia, fished in the Southern Ocean. It has met the global standard for sustainability where there are enough fish left in the sea to reproduce indefinitely.
So it’s high time to resurrect that Sea Bass Veracruz recipe!
Sopa de Frijoles Borrachos
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Drunken Beans Soup
We served Frijoles Borrachos smothered in melted Oaxaca cheese with a side of warm flour tortillas the other night. It is an uncomplicated, tasty first course/side dish that appeals to almost everyone. But if I am going to cook dried beans, I am going to make plenty, as they take hours to soak and cook. Might as well make enough for other delicious dishes.
This time I turned the remaining pinto beans into a Drunken Beans Soup. The idea is similar to frijoles borrachos with beer as a key ingredient, but the beans are simmered with vegetables and spices then puréed to a coarse soupy texture.
The soup itself is quite delicious, but it is the garnishes that take it to another intoxicating level – Mexican crema, radish, pickled red onion, serrano chile, fried tortilla strips, cotija cheese, lime juice, and cilantro.