Guacamole and green salsa macha

Salsa macha is Mexico’s answer to crisp chilli oil, and is made from dried chillies, garlic, nuts, spices, and oil. This fresh green version goes brilliantly with guacamole, and is perfect for spring and summer.

Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

For the guacamole
5 ripe avocados
¼ white onion
, diced
1 fresh jalapeño chilli, finely chopped
5-6 tbsp (20g) coriander leaves, chopped
2 limes, juiced
Sea salt

For the salsa macha
300ml neutral oil
1 small bunch each parsley and coriander
, picked
½ white onion
, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 fresh jalapeño chillies, sliced
50g green pumpkin seeds
50g white sesame seeds
50g pistachios
, shelled

Cut the avocados in half, remove the stones and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the onion, jalapeño, coriander and lime juice, and mix, gently mashing the avocado with a fork, but making sure to keep some chunky bits in there, rather than turning it to paste. Season with salt to taste, and set aside.

Heat 200ml oil in a deep-sided pan on a medium heat, fry the parsley and coriander leaves for a minute or so, until they go crisp, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl lined with kitchen towel, to drain. Add the rest of the oil to the pan, fry the onion, garlic and jalapeños until they soften, then add to the crisp leaves. In a separate pan, toast the pumpkin and sesame seeds and pistachios until golden, add to the bowl, then season to taste.

Transfer the guacamole to a serving bowl and top with the green salsa macha (any leftovers will keep in a jar in the fridge for a week). If you’re also making the above tostada, use the tostadas for dipping, though tortilla chips and/or chicharrón will also do nicely.

Mushroom tostadas, pasilla adobo and goat’s cheese

Mushroom tostada, pasilla adobo and goat’s cheese
Nick Fitzgerald’s mushroom tostada, pasilla adobo and goat’s cheese.

The dried, dark green pasilla chilli is a cornerstone of Mexican cuisine, and the star ingredient in mole, sauces and marinades. The name translates as “little raisin”.

Prep 20 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

For the pasilla adobo
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp light olive oil
4 tomatoes
, roughly chopped
4 dried pasilla chillies, halved (and deseeded, if you prefer less heat), or ancho chillies
1 tsp Mexican oregano
Salt and black pepper

For the mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
200ml neutral oil
500g mixed mushrooms
, wild, ideally, roughly chopped into equal pieces
2 fresh jalapeño chillies, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
12 corn tortillas
5-6 tbsp (20g) coriander leaves
¼ white onion
, sliced
300g soft goat’s cheese
1 lime
, quartered

First make the adobo. Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil on a medium heat, until they start to colour, then add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, until they soften and start to break down. In a separate frying pan, toast the chillies on both sides, add to the tomato pan with the oregano and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes. Blend to a rough paste and set aside.

Now for the mushrooms. Fry the garlic in the oil on a medium heat until it has softened but not coloured, add the mushrooms and jalapeños, and cook until the mushrooms go golden.Season to taste.

Meanwhile, toast the tortillas in a low, 110C (90C fan)/325F/gas ¼ oven for about 15 minutes, turning once, until they crisp up (or dry fry for three or so minutes on each side). Mix the coriander with the sliced onion. Put the still warm pasilla adobo in a shallow serving bowl, and arrange the mushrooms and goat’s cheese on top. Finish with the onion and coriander mix and a healthy squeeze of lime juice, and serve with the tostadas.

Lamb barbacoa, ancho adobo and radish salad

Lamb barbacoa.
Nick Fitzgerald’s lamb barbacoa with ancho adobo and radish salad.

Prep 20 min
Cook 4 hr
Serves 4

For the ancho adobo
4 dried ancho chillies
4 dried guajillo chillies
1 onion
, peeled and roughly sliced
1 whole garlic head, cloves separated and peeled
6 medium tomatoes
100g tamarind paste
1 litre hot chicken stock

For the lamb shoulder
2½kg lamb shoulder
Salt and pepper

For the radish salad
300g radishes (if possible, a few different varieties, such as watermelon or blue meat radishes)
½ white onion, sliced
1 bunch coriander, picked
2 fresh jalapeños, sliced
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 lime
, juiced
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan/390F/gas 6. Pick off and discard the dried chilli stems, then soak the chillies in warm water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the onion and garlic in a large roasting tray big enough to hold the lamb later, roast for 15 minutes, then add the tomatoes and roast for 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven, and turn up the heat to 220C (200C fan/425F/gas 7. Tip the onion mix into a blender with the tamarind and drained chillies, and blitz until semi-smooth. Scrape the mix into a large saucepan, add the stock, bring to a boil and reduce slightly for five minutes.

Season the lamb shoulder and roast in the same tray for 15-20 minutes, just until the meat starts to colour. Turn down the oven to 170C (150C fan)/325F/gas 3, and pour the adobo sauce over and around the lamb. Cover the tray tightly with foil and roast for another three hours, basting the meat in the sauce from time to time, until it’s nice and soft and the bone pulls away easily.

While the lamb is cooking, make the salad. Cut the radishes in as many different ways as you can – thin and thick slices, chunks, etc, to create a variety of textures; it looks great on the plate, too. Put the radishes in a serving bowl with all the other salad ingredients and toss to combine.

When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest. The sauce will by now be infused with all the flavours of the roasting juices, but if it looks a little thin, reduce it a bit on the hob. Spread most of the adobo on a serving plate, lay the lamb on top, then pour over the rest of the sauce. Scatter the salad around the plate, and serve as it is, or with soft tortillas to make tacos.

Recipes by Nick Fitzgerald, chef/owner, Tacos Padre, London SE1.



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