It’s Cinco de Mayo and an excuse to have tacos tonight! Or all weekend, if you want. I asked my friend Billy, who is of Mexican heritage, about the holiday and how his family celebrated. He said the day is mainly celebrated in the mountain-city of Puebla to commemorate the defeat of the French in 1862. Even so, any excuse to celebrate Mexican food culture with our neighbors is a good thing.
I asked Billy for a gringo-friendly recipe and he suggested a classic mole poblano (pronounced moe-lay), that’s associated with Puebla. On second thought, he said, it might be too complicated. “I use the concentrated version,” he said. “The mole is sold in a jar under the brand name Doña Maria and you add it to pieces of cooked chicken and its broth for a thick flavorful dish.”
I brought this up with my hairdresser yesterday. A glow came over her face. Yes, her mother had made mole from scratch, but her generation made it like Billy had described, using a jar of Doña Maria to shorten the process. For those wanting a touch of authenticity without a lot of trouble, this might be the way to go. Better yet, get an experienced friend to make some for you.For those wanting simply to give a hat tip to the day, here’s a guacamole made by another friend at the farm recently. It’s so green, creamy and wonderful. I’m thinking this would work for St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas, as well as Cinco de Mayo. Below are the ingredients and technique that my friend used; the proportions are from America’s Test Kitchen.
- 2 Tbs. onions, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced (use what you like)
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. grated lime zest and 1 1/2-2 Tbs. lime juice
- 3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, and cut in 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 plum tomato, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch pieces
- 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
Place onion, jalapeno, 1 teaspoon salt, and lime zest on cutting board and chop until very finely minced. Transfer onion mixture to medium bowl and stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice. Add avocados and, using sturdy whisk, mash and stir mixture until well combined with some 1/4- to 1/2-inch chunks of avocado remaining. Stir in tomato and cilantro. Season with salt and up to additional 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice to taste. Makes 2 cups.