Dinner Party Menu: Fish in a Corn Husk Returns (Picture Heavy!)

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.

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These were deep fried in vegetable oil.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Each guests gets to open their own present.

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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.

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Great night, great friends, time to sleep.

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