I’ve only been to Mexico once, and I’m embarrassed to admit it was for a crazy week over Spring Break. I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into. We spent the week on this one strip in Acapulco, which had absolutely no remnants of Mexican culture. Everything was geared towards the American spring breakers – cheap alcoholic drinks, late night salchicha stands, and a club the size of a football stadium. I mean, it was what is was, and I guess the eight of us really weren’t going there for the culture at that time in our lives.
I do want to return to Mexico, but for a more enriching experience. Until then, I’ll just keep eating at the local Mexican spots and try my best to replicate the delicious foods myself.
Why do Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
This weekend Americans will celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I’ve never understood why, so I turned to Wikipedia for some help:
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla. The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
So in honor of Cinco de Mayo I made a recipe that’s not exactly a traditional Mexican dish, but it’s a tasty appetizer that’s great for a crowd.
Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salsa
Serving size 4
1 ear of corn
3/4 cup grape tomatoes
2 tbsp cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
A quick note about corn
There are two ways you can prepare the corn: on a grill or by boiling it. I’ve chosen to boil it because we are lacking in the grill department at Casa de Socarrás. I tend to lean towards roasted flavors, so I imagine grilling it would be excellent. Whatever you do, please don’t use corn from a can! I think that would really take away from the freshness of this recipe.
Here’s a tip about choosing the best corn: Choose ears of corn with bright green husks that are tightly closed. The ends of the corn silk should be golden brown, not pale — an indication that the corn was picked too early.
Fill a large pot with water (enough water to cover the corn 1-2 inches) and bring to a boil. Add corn, cover, and boil for 6-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, halve the grape tomatoes (quarter them if they are large), and cut the avocado in 1 inch cubes. Chop the cilantro and place all ingredients in a bowl.
When the corn is finished, set it aside to cool. Strip corn and add to the serving bowl. Toss with salt and pepper and fresh lime juice. Serve with tortilla chips.
More on Latin cooking
I didn’t have much prep time to work out a full meal for this Cinco de Mayo post, but I’m eager to try new recipes. We received the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Latin Cooking cookbook for a wedding gift last year. The book is filled with recipes organized by country and region. I’m really looking forward to making dishes with some queso fresco and all sorts of hot peppers (although I’ll probably steer clear of habanero for a while). Finally, I have GOT to get going on Cuban recipes! The first one on my list is ropa vieja. There will definitely be an updated post about the book in the future. For now you can buy it, here.