Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Toritos or Little Peppers Stuffed with Garlic, Shrimp and Oaxaca Cheese

stuffed peppers

So for the last four years, and for four of the five years during which I've been in NYC, I've lived in East Harlem, sometimes called Spanish Harlem because of its high latino population. Only in East Harlem can you walk into the corner store looking for some diet Pepsi and find nopalitos (cactus palms) and epazote (an herb common in Mexican food) chillin' out next to the limes and tomatillos. It has long been my intention to delve into more cuisines from South America, since their ingredients are so easily available to me. So when I was asked if I'd like to review Deborah Schneider's new book Amor y Tacos, of course I said yes.

stuffed peppers 2

It's a beautiful little book, this one, with color pictures for most of the recipes. Don't be fooled by the titles, there's much more here than just tacos. (Although there are plenty of tacos as well, and they get a chapter all to themselves.) The entire first chapter is devoted to drinks like Tangerine Ginger Margaritas, Watermelon Agua Fresca and even Hibiscus Margaritas. I think some kind of Margarita party ought to be in my future this summer.

cheese

But for my first recipe from the book, I chose something out of the Antojitos (or snacks) section. And man, these Toritos were seriously, seriously delicious. Here are a few hints as far as ingredients go. You can use any peppers you like, from hot and spicy jalapeños to mild miniature sweet peppers. I used mini bell peppers because I found a bag full and they were just so pretty, and sometimes I'm not great with very hot food. I also used shredded Oaxaca cheese because of my proximity to those wonderful latino markets. But if you can't find it, the recipe suggests Jack cheese or mozzarella, which would be closer in spirit to Oaxaca (the mozzarella that is).

Toritos, Little Peppers Stuffed with Garlic, Shrimp and Oaxaca Cheese
Adopted from Deborah Schneider's Amor y Tacos

8 small pointed peppers, like jalapeños, güero or mini sweet peppers
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 green onion, white and light green parts thinly sliced
4 ounces (about 10) medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, then chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shredded oaxaca (or Jack, or mozzarella) cheese
Mango Habanero salsa (follows)

Wash the chili peppers, then dry them, but leave the stems attached. If you're using very hot pepper, used gloves as you cut a slit down one side and pull out the seeds, use a spoon if you need to. If you're using sweet peppers, the cloves won't be necessary. Try not to break the peppers or crack off the stems.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the garlic and green onions. Saute until fragrant, but not quite browned. Add the shrimp, season with the salt, and cook until the shrimp is pink and no longer translucent. Remove this mixture from the heat and let cool as you prepare the salsa.

For the salsa

1 ripe mango (still firm), peeled and diced
1 small roma tomato, cored and diced
2 tablespoon diced red onion
1/2 teaspoon minced habanero chile (remember to wear your gloves!)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all the ingredients and taste for seasoning. It will be very hot, but may need more salt or lime juice. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Returning to the pepper mixture, mix the cheese into the now cooled shrimp mixture. The cheese and shrimp mixture should stick together. Use a small spoon to fill each pepper generously with the stuffing. The recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated to this point, although you'll want to make the salsa just before serving.

Heat a large pan over medium-high and lay a sheet of foil over the top. Set the peppers on the foil and roast them until they begin to brown in places and start to soften.

Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is hot and bubbling. To serve, spoon some of the salsa over the top.

9 comments:

Jennifurla said...

Those looks so gorgeous and tasty...I have that plate too.

Beau @ SomethingEdible.com said...

Love the flavor choices in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

As a side, After looking at the (beautiful!) photo, I didn't understand how small the chiles were until I read the recipe.

It's like reverse tilt-shift for food. =)

rachel said...

AHH!! We totally just bought this cookbook. mostly because of it's name. chris and i have a good understanding of what will sustain our relationship: amor y tacos...oh how we love tacos!

Eliana said...

Look at the pop of color in this dish. Irrisistable.

Chrissy said...

Sounds like something Michael would like. I'm sure he'll make me use some spicy peppers, but I'm going to add this to our Sunday menu :)

Mary said...

These really sound wonderful. They also are very pretty to look at. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Lady Grey said...

Hi there, I just discovered your incredible blog while searching for an authentic German plum cake recipe.... and I definitely landed in a good place!
Just to let you know, the cake turned out incredibly! I can't wait to try some of your other recipes : )

Bordeaux said...

Serious yum. And beautiful.

Sasa said...

I'm always lamenting the lack of Mexican food here in Austria but these look totally doable - I think I can get everything but the peppers but I'm sure I can sub another kind, yay ^_^