Fantastic Tomato and Avocado Salsa

A great recipe for a fantastic, delicious and fresh salsa.

Works well as a side with any Mexican or Tex-Mex dish, or as a snack with some tortilla chips. For a list of my Mexican recipes please check out my Blog contents

The important thing with this dish is to use fresh, ripe, good quality ingredients to get the very best flavour. If you like it spicy, simply add some sliced or diced chilli.

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Serves 2-4 as a side dish

Ingredients and Method

4 large round ripe tomatoes – diced

1 medium size red onion – diced

1 large ripe avocado – diced

Juice of 1 and half limes

Generous handful of fresh coriander leaf and stalk – roughly chop

Generous amount of fresh ground black pepper

Sea salt – to taste, approx. 1/4 tsp

Sprinkle of brown sugar – to bring out flavours, approx.. 1/4 tsp

1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

Method: simply mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, adjust salt and sugar to taste, cover and leave at room temperature for at least 1hr for flavours to develop. Mix well again before serving.

Can be stored in an airtight refrigerated container for 1-2 days if you have any leftover.

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Huevos Nachos

“Full Breakfast” nachos – tortilla chips with mixed beans in a spiced tomato sauce, sliced grilled chipolata sausage, fried eggs, chipotle mayonnaise, grated cheddar and a fresh delicious tomato and avocado salsa.

I started out planning to make some Huevos Rancheros but my imagination took over and I decided to experiment with this dish – I’m so glad I did. Essentially this is nachos crossed with a cooked breakfast with a Mexican twist, it may not be an authentic Mexican dish but it sure is tasty.

All the components in the dish work very well together – the crunch from the tortilla chips, the rich Smokey flavour from the beans, the creaminess of the chipotle mayo, the richness of the fried eggs, the flavour of the grilled sausage, the saltiness of the cheese and the freshness of the salsa. I hope I’m making you hungry.

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Serves Two

Preparation and cooking time 35 -40 minutes

 

Ingredients and Method

This dish involves making all of the elements and adding them together at the last minute

The spiced mixed beans

4-5 round tomatoes

1 red chilli

2 guajillo chillies

5 cloves garlic – leave skin on to dry fry

2 white onions – leave skin on to dry fry

1 yellow bell pepper

500ml chicken stock

Dash Worchester sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp smoked paprika

2tsp chipotle paste

350g mixed beans – rinse well

Salt to taste

Method: In a wide deep non stick frying pan, dry fry the tomatoes, chillies, garlic, onion and yellow pepper until they are coloured on all sides. All of these should be left in their skin. The garlic will cook quicker than the other ingredients, remove from the pan when the cloves soften. Once charred let all the ingredients cool and remove the garlic skins, onion skins and the stalks from the chillies and peppers.

Transfer the tomatoes, garlic, onions, chillies and pepper into a small blender/mini chopper and blitz until a smooth sauce is formed. Add a dash of Worchester sauce, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2tsp chipotle paste and 2tsp sugar. Blitz again until combined with the sauce.

Add the sauce to a wide deep sauce pan and add the chicken stock, stir well and bring to the boil and add the rinsed beans. Bring back to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Ignore the instruction on the tin that they will cook in 10 minutes – its just totally wrong!

Set aside ready to add to the dish

For the salsa

3 round tomatoes -diced

1 ripe avocado – diced

1 red onion – diced

1 red chilli – seeds/stalk removed and finely diced

Juice of 1 and half limes

small handful of coriander leaf – roughly chopped

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method: gently mix all the ingredients  in a large glass mixing bowl until the sugar and salt and combined with the salsa, cover and set aside at room temperature for 20-25 minutes. Mix gently again before serving.

To complete the dish

2 portions of lightly salted corn tortilla chips – 50-75g each

4 eggs – fried at last minute, sunny side up

4-6 large chipolata sausages – oven roast at 180°c for 20-25 minutes

Chipotle mayonnaise – combined 5 tsps. mayo and 1 tsp chipotle paste

1 small red onion – diced, for garnish

3-4 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaf – for garnish

25-30g grated medium cheddar cheese

lime wedge – as garnish

Plating the dish

Use wide deep bowls to plate the dish, start by adding the beans to the bottom of the dish, saving a little of the sauce as a garnish.

Layer the tortilla chips on top, then add the sausage and the salsa. Place the fried eggs on top of the nachos then complete the dish by adding the cheese, chipotle mayo, coriander and a little of the tomato sauce.

Add a lime wedge as a final garnish then serve and enjoy!

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Mexican Prawn and Crab Soup

King prawns and swimming crab in a delicious prawn stock flavoured with tomato, chipotle, guajillo, garlic and bell pepper. Garnished with strips of fried corn tortilla, red onion, sliced chilli, avocado and coriander leaf.

This recipe is far simpler than it looks, and is made in three easy stages – making a prawn shell stock, making a paste to flavour the stock, then adding the meat and the garnishes.

Like all great soups it is important to get the absolute maximum flavour out of the ingredients, the garnishes not only look pretty but add extra flavour and different textures to the dish.

You must use whole raw king prawns for this dish, although tinned crab meat is ok. You require a mini chopper, blender or food processor for this recipe.

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Serves Two people

Preparation and cooking 45-50 minutes

 

Ingredients and method

For the prawn stock

Shells and heads from 250-300g raw king prawns – keep meat separate

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 carrot – peel, thinly slice

1 stick celery – thinly slice

1 onion – peel, slice

2 bay leaves

1-2 tbsp. coriander leaf and stalk

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1.25l water

Method: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium high heat. Add the raw prawn shells and stir-fry until they all change from grey to pink. Add the onion, bay, carrot and celery and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes.

Add  the water, bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Add the salt, pepper and coriander and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool then strain the stock, ensuring that you squeeze all the juice out of the shells. Set aside for later.

To flavour the stock

3 dried guajillo chillies – soak in water for 30 minutes, discard liquid

3 large round tomatoes

6 cloves garlic – leave skin on, see method

1 large white onion

1 tsp chipotle paste

1 red bell pepper – remove stalk and seeds, cut into quarters

1 fish stock cube – I use knorr stock cubes

Method: Heat a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat until hot. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, guajillo chillies and the onion. Dry fry these, turning occasionally for 15-20 minutes until they show some colour, then remove on to a chopping board and allow to cool.

Remove the garlic skins, remove the onion skin and quarter the tomatoes. Add all the ingredients into the mini chopper along with 1 tsp chipotle paste. Blitz until a smooth paste is formed.

Warm the stock from earlier over a medium heat, add the flavour paste and the stock cube, stir well until combined, bring to the boil for 10 minutes then reduce to a simmer.

For the Prawns, Crab and garnishes

250-300 Raw King Prawn meat

125-150g tin shredded blue swimming crab meat

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

2 corn tortillas – cut into strips

1 avocado – slice into strips at last minute

1 red onion – diced

1 red chilli – thinly sliced

2-3 tbsp. chopped coriander leaf

Method: Heat the oil to 175-180°c then fry the tortilla strips in small batches until golden and crispy. Only do a few at a time as they cook very quickly. Drain them on absorbent paper and set aside ready to add to the dish.

Prepare the other garnishes – dice the avocado, dice the onion and slice the red chilli, collect together ready to add to the soup.

Bring the soup back to the boil them add the prawns, turn off the heat and let the residual heat poach the prawns. As soon as they turn pink serve the dish.

Ladle the soup and prawns in to deep serving bowls. Add the shredded crab in chunks, add the tortilla strips, onion, avocado, chilli and coriander then serve immediately.

As always more than happy to answer any questions.

 

 

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Chicken enchiladas with tomato and guajillo chilli sauce.

Enchiladas stuffed with leftover chicken in a rich Mexican tomato and guajillo chilli pepper sauce. Oven baked and served with tomato and avocado salsa.

This dish is a great way of turning leftover chicken into something really special. Garlic, tomatoes, red pepper, red chilli and guajillo chillies are pan roasted until charred to unlock their deep flavours, then blitzed into a smooth sauce which is mixed with the leftover chicken. The tortillas are brushed with a mixture of a little oil and tomato sauce before baking so that they take on some flavour and to prevent them over crisping or burning. A little of the sauce is also used as a garnish on top of the enchiladas.

A simple yet delicious salsa is made from tomatoes, red chilli, red pepper, avocado, coriander, red onion, lime juice, a little sugar and seasoning. It is important to leave this covered at room temperature for 1-2 hours to allow the flavours to fully develop. It just doesn’t taste as good if its been chilled, like tomatoes in general.

The dish is completed with some sour cream drizzled over the enchiladas, along with a garnish of coriander and lime wedges. I have been to Mexico many times and this takes me back there…..

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Serves two people

Preparation 15-20 minutes, cooking 10-12 minutes (plus time for salsa to develop)

Ingredients and method

For the salsa:

1/2 a red chill – finely chopped, remove seeds (keep for hot)

1/2 a red bell pepper – finely diced

3 tomatoes – diced

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 baby avocado – diced

1 medium size red onion – diced

Good handful coriander – roughly chopped

Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

Salt – to taste

Method: Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, cover bowl and set aside at room temperature for 1-2 hours. This helps the favours combine and gives a far tastier salsa.

For the enchiladas

Approx. 150g leftover/precooked chicken – cut into small pieces or shred

4 corn tortillas – must be corn ones 

3 large garlic cloves – keep skin on (see method)

2 guajillo chillies – if using dried, soak for 45-60 mins then discard water

1/2 red chilli – remove seeds and stalk

1/2 red pepper

3 round tomatoes

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp. coriander leaf, plus a few leafs for garnish

1/4 tsp salt

Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Sour cream – to garnish

Method: Start by dry roasting the pepper, chilli, tomatoes, garlic (keep skin on) and guajillo chilli peppers over a medium high heat. Turn occasionally but the aim here is to dry roast and get some charred colour to bring some deep flavour to the sauce. Once the peppers and chillies are charred on all sides, carefully remove the garlic and tip the rest into a small food processor/mini chopper. Allow the garlic to cool then squeeze to remove roasted garlic from the skin then place in food processor. Add the coriander, sugar, salt and pepper then blitz until a smooth rich red sauce is formed. Taste test and add a little extra sugar, salt or pepper if required, the sauce should be rich and flavoursome, but not too sweet. Retain 1-2 tbsp. of the sauce and mix the rest through the chicken. With the retained sauce mix with a tbsp. of vegetable oil – this will be used to brush the enchiladas.

Preheat your oven to approx. 180°C then start to make the enchiladas. Lay one out flat on a chopping board, place a generous amount of filling just below the middle then roll the bottom over carefully then roll into a enchilada. Place into a roasting dish with the seam on the bottom. Repeat for the other three enchiladas, making sure to space them out in the roasting dish. Using a brush give the enchiladas a thin coat of the sauce/oil mix to prevent the tortillas crisping up too much during baking. If you have any sauce left you can also add a couple of small drops on top of the enchiladas before baking, this is mainly for aesthetics and entirely optional. Add to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

When plating, take care when transferring the enchiladas so they don’t loose their shape or any of the contents. Serve with a side portion of the salsa and garnish with sour cream and a few coriander leafs.

 

 

 

Fish Tacos

A great recipe for wonderful fresh fish tacos. Strips of fresh Sea Bass in a light beer batter inside corn tortillas, served with salsa, lime wedges and sour cream.

One of my favourite Mexican dishes and also one of the easiest to make. Simply cut fresh fish into strips, coat in flour then batter and then deep-fried until crispy on the outside. Served inside a warmed corn tortillas with a side of salsa made from tomatoes, sweetcorn, avocado, red onion, lime juice, coriander leaf, a little sugar and seasoning. A dollop of sour cream completes the dish.

The important thing here is the freshness of the sea bass and the salsa ingredients to give that true taste of Mexico. Making the salsa around 1-2 hours in advance lets the flavours fully develop, it is best kept at room temperature as tomatoes love the heat. It is also important to leave making the beer batter until the last-minute so it stays light.

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Serves two People

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time less than 10 minutes (salsa best made 1-2 hours in advance)

 

Ingredients

2 Sea bass fillets – remove skin and cut into strips 2 cm thick

4 corn tortillas – warmed in a pan before serving

50g seasoned flour – in a plate or flat-bottomed bowl to coat fish

Oil to deep fry

Sour cream – a dollop on the side

Lime wedges – to garnish

For The batter

225-250g plain flour

330ml chilled lager beer – I used san miguel

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/3 tsp salt

For the salsa

4 round tomatoes – finely chopped

1 avocado – diced

2-3 Tbsp sweetcorn

1 medium red onion – diced

Handful coriander leaf – finely chopped

1 red chilli – finely sliced

Pinch of brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Cooking instructions

  1. Start by making the Salsa. Combine ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well, cover and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve. The salsa is best made at 1-2 hours in advance as this gives the flavours time to develop.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan to around 190ºC – the oil needs to be deep enough to completely submerge the largest piece of fish. Heating the oil to this temperature also ensures the fish will cook very quickly and that the batter will seal and prevent oil seeping into the fish pieces.
  3. Mix the batter ingredients in a deep bowl until a smooth batter is formed. Coat each piece of fish in the seasoned flour then into the batter mixture then add to the hot oil. The fish will cook very quickly and try to turn each piece after 1 minute. Once the fish is a light golden colour on all sides remove from the oil and drain well on absorbent paper.
  4. Warm the corn tortillas in a frying pan, then serve immediately with the fish inside the tacos and the salsa on the side – adding it too early will make the tacos go soggy. A dollop of sour cream and a lime wedge completes the dish.

 

 Fish tacos

Mexican Carne con Chile, Red Pepper Rice and Salsa

Mexican classic beef with chilli, red pepper rice and a wonderful fresh salsa. Comfort food at its very best.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 30 minutes, cooking time 1 hour

This recipe uses gaujillo chillies and chipolte paste to give the chilli sauce that authentic flavour. Firstly gaujillo chillies, garlic and tomato are dry fried, before being blended with cumin seeds and chipolte paste. Beef mince is browned with some white onion in a little oil, then the paste is added along with all spice berries, bay leaf, oregano, some water and seasoning. The dish is slowly simmered for around an hour to reduce the sauce and bring out the rich deep flavours.

Red pepper rice works so well with this dish, or indeed as a side to any mexican dish. Onion, garlic and half a red bell pepper are fried in a little oil then washed long grain rice is added along with chilli powder and tomato paste. The rice is fried in the oil and stirred until each grain is coated. Chicken stock is then added along with seasoning before the rice is covered and reduced to simmer. After the stock is absorbed the rice is fluffed up with a fork before serving.

The salsa is a straightforward mix of corn, tomatoes, spring onion, red onion, avocado, red chilli, coriander, seasoning, a little sugar and lime juice. Best done 1-2 hours in advance, mixed well and set aside to let the flavours come together. A winner with any mexican dish or as a dip for tortilla chips.

As an extra accompaniment I served this dish with corn tortillas and sour cream.

Ingredients and method

Carne con chilli

2 gaujillo chillies – soak in water for 30 minutes

3 garlic cloves (unpeeled)

3 round tomatoes

tsp cumin seeds

1 and half tsp chipolte paste

220 -300g good quality minced beef

1 white onion – diced

2 all spice berries

1 bay leaf

tsp oregano

1 tbsp oil

200ml water

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Dry fry the garlic, guajillo chillies and tomatoes over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, turning frequently until charred. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled. Peel the garlic then add to a mini blender along with the unpeeled tomatoes, gaujillo chillies, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1.5 tsps chipolte paste and blend well until smooth. In a separate pan and the oil and heat over a medium heat, once hot brown the mince along with the onion. Next add the paste from the blender, approx 200ml water, 2 all spice berries, a bay leaf and a tsp oregano. Stir well bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for approximately 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add a little more water if the chilli becomes too dry.

 

Red pepper rice

150g long grain rice – rinse before use

1 white onion –  diced

2 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop

Half a red bell pepper – diced

2 tsp tomato paste

1 tsp chilli powder – use extra for extra heat

400ml chicken stock

1 tbsp oil

Method: Heat the oil over a medium heat in a saucepan then fry the onions, garlic and bell pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice along with 2 tsp tomato paste and 1 tsp chilli powder, stir well and fry the mixture for 30 seconds. Pour in the chicken stock along with a little seasoning, stir once and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed. Remove from heat, remove lid and fluff rice with a fork.

Salsa

4 Tbsp sweetcorn

2 round tomatoes – finely chopped

1 red onion – diced

1 avocado – diced

Handful coriander leaf – chopped

2 spring onions – thinly sliced

2 red bird eye chillies – thinly sliced

salt and pepper – to taste

Half teaspoon of brown sugar

Juice of 1 lime

Method – This is really as simple as mixing all the ingredients in a large bowl, cover and setting aside in fridge. In My opinion it is best done 2-3 hours in advance and brought to room temperature 30 mins before serving.