I had a really fun dinner party with old friends. It was a lazy Sunday and a perfect day to cook and prepare.
Early on, I took some old blue corn tortillas and cut them up into much smaller discs.
These were deep fried in vegetable oil.
Most recipes say to drain fried things on paper but I like to use old paper bags, so at least they get another use other than carrying groceries home from the store.
At the office, Leslie had made some tinga poblana, a chicken and chipotle dish and I had taken home some of the leftovers, so I spooned a little onto each tostada, added some greens and then topped it off with a little crema. This easily could have been poached chicken and a little salsa instead of the tinga.
I like to have lots of appetizers so I can relax when they guests are there. Some drinks and snacks help make people very forgiving. I had sliced radishes in salted water, pickled carrot sticks (using our banana vingar and oregano Indio). and hummus with chipotle en adobo. I cheated and used store-bought hummus and added chipotle in adobo that had been mixed in the blender. Please don't judge me.
Soup was Sopa de Nopal, from Susana Palazuelos' very fine book, Mexico, Una herencia de sabor. It's basically a chicken broth/tomato base with cooked nopales added. Fried tortilla strips are croutons and I replaced the panela cheese with fresh mozzarella balls, I think improving things.
I returned to an old fave, the fish packets for our main course. In soaked corn husks, I added a fillet of tilapia that had been marinated in a red recado thinned out with lime and orange juices, a shrimp (wild, natch), summer squash slices and and orange slice. I wrapped them up and tied them with kitchen string. I could have made strings out of some of the leftover corn husks but the string was much faster.
What's great is you can make these hours ahead of time. I cooked them by just heating them on a steel comal. A cast iron pan would be fine and a grill ideal. About 7 minutes on one side and five on the other.
Each guests gets to open their own present.
The husk will burn but the insides will steam as the husks have been soaked in warm water. You can of course vary the fillings. '
I didn't mention the beans, but we of course had a clay pot ready to go with the fish. We ate Rio Zapes.
Great night, great friends, time to sleep.