Molcajete + Margarita May

Poblanos and beef tenderloin heaped over homemade roasted salsa served with grilled prawns in a molcajete is a mouthwatering meal for two or more. Just grab some seafood picks and dig in!

This month, I’m also whipping up an uber-fresh avocado and grilled cumin corn side salad, and washing it all down with charred, fresh pineapple margaritas by the glass or by the pitcher.

Our May Invite is a riot of flavors and colors and it just might transport you to somewhere south of the border.

SET THE SCENE

Create your own brand of sunshine. Our antique French wine table is fully loaded for May. Intoxicatingly fragrant gold freesias and brilliant orange ranunculus in simple glass jugs set the tone for dinner. The blooms are especially pretty when paired with deep orange throws and linens and complementary-colored aqua-blue checks. Orange melamine cups hold bundles of fresh parsley and cilantro, ready for snipping and topping the dishes. A flowering cactus provides a pop of pink and a pot of Kalanchoe gives off that south of the border vibe. Woven napkin rings add a fun texture to black and white striped napkins. It’s a striking combo for sure, but the extra-large molcajete still steals the show.

Grilled Surf and Turf with Roasted Salsa

Once the salsa is made and the beef tenderloin and prawns are grilled, you can quickly and carefully warm the bowl of the mortar, upside down over a stovetop gas burner.

Remove the molcajete to your heat-safe serving surface, using heat-proof mittens. Slowly pour in the roasted salsa. It will ceremoniously sizzle when it hits the bowl.

Layer in the sliced grilled tenderloin, whole poblanos, and green onions then dangle the grilled prawns over the rim of the bowl.

Top with chopped fresh parsley and cilantro, snipped chives, lime zest, crumbled Cotija cheese, and a good drizzle of Crema Mexicana. Briefly char and warm flour tortillas over a gas burner. Load in the goods.

ROASTED SALSA

Makes approximately 6 cups

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Roasting the veggies gives the salsa a smooth smoky flavor.

Ingredients

  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 spring onions
  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 3 yellow chili peppers
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt & pepper

Method

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the whole tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic on the tray. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 20 minutes.

NOTE: The spring onions and garlic will roast quickly. Remove from the tray once they begin to brown.

Set aside one roasted poblano, a yellow chili pepper, and a spring onion to top the molcajete. Remove and discard the tops and seeds from the rest of the peppers.

Place the tomatoes, onions, poblano, yellow chili peppers, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Blitz. Add a good glug of olive oil, plus the cumin, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Blitz again until smooth. Sample the salsa and adjust the seasonings and heat to your liking. If you like more heat, add a bit of the seeded jalapeño and blitz again.

GRILLED BEEF TENDERLOIN

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds beef tenderloin, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper

Method

Marinate the meat for 2 hours in a good drizzle of olive oil, oregano, cumin, and salt. Grill for approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add a sprinkling of pepper. Remove from heat and cover with foil.

SPICY AND ZESTY GRILLED PRAWNS

Ingredients

  • 1-pound large prawns, with tails
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method

Marinate the prawns for 20 minutes in a good drizzle of olive oil, juice and zest of half a lime, cumin, garlic, and salt. Discard the garlic. Grill for approximately 3 minutes per side until the meat is opaque. Remove from heat. Add a fresh squeeze of lime juice. Cover with foil.

SUGGESTED MOLCAJETE TOPPERS

  • Fresh chopped parsley
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Sliced green onion
  • Snipped chives
  • Crumbled Cotija cheese
  • Crema Mexicana
  • Fresh lime juice, zest, and wedges

Charred Pineapple Margaritas

Whole fresh pineapple is sliced, grilled, and then blitzed in the blender to make a frothy, smoky pineapple base for our margarita.

Spike it with blanco tequila and Cointreau. Sweeten it with agave and add plenty of fresh lime juice for a zesty finish.

Garnish with a wedge of grilled pineapple and a round of lime. Add sliced jalapeño if you like a little heat. Make it by the glass or by the pitcher, simply multiply the recipe. Cheers to margarita May!

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh pineapple, sliced into ½ inch rounds
  • 6 ounces canned pineapple juice

(Per Cocktail)

  • 1 1/2 ounces grilled pineapple juice
  • 2 ounces Blanco Tequila
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ ounce agave syrup
  • Fresh lime rounds
  • Jalapeño pepper

Method

Fire up the outdoor grill. Char the pineapple slices for 2 minutes max on each side. Cut one of the grilled rounds into wedges for garnishing the glasses. Remove the rind on the remaining rounds and blitz the pineapple in a blender along with the canned pineapple juice. (Refrigerate until ready to use. Keeps for approximately 24 hours.) Add a large ice cube to a glass then top with juice, tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and syrup. Stir. Garnish with fresh lime and jalapeño pepper rounds.

Avocado and Grilled Cumin Corn Salad

Serves 4

Creamy chunks of avocado, sweet grilled cumin corn, a trio of onions, fresh parsley, and cilantro, a bit of heat from the chili pepper plus zesty lime … this salad is layered with mad flavors!

Ingredients

  • 3 ears of fresh corn
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 avocados cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons sliced spring onion
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives F
  • resh chopped parsley
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon chopped
  • Fresno chili pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Juice plus zest of 1 small lime
  • Salt & pepper

Method

Slather the corn with butter and cumin, grill for a few minutes on all sides. Cool. Using a serrated knife cut the kernels from the cob. Set aside.

Mound the avocado cubes in the center of a large platter. Ring the avocado with the grilled corn. Top the salad with onions, chives, parsley, cilantro, and Fresno chili pepper. Drizzle the platter with good olive oil. Add the fresh lime juice and zest. Finish with a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground pepper.

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