Brilliant for seasoning seafood, homemade pizzas and chocolate dinner party puds, these Mexican recipes are the ultimate summer sharing dishes.
Time: Ready in an hour
You will need...
250ml olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
8 large corn tortillas
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
Juice of 1 (juicy) lime
2–3 tbsp hot and fiery peanut oil
150g raw prawns
2–3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 baby gem, cut into fine ribbons
Hot sauce, for splashing
For the hot and fiery peanut oil:
6 fat garlic cloves
25g sesame seeds
600ml sunflower oil
90g peanuts (skins on)
25g chiles de árbol (or other dried red chillies),
2 tsp sea salt
2 good pinches of caster sugar
- To make the hot and fiery peanut oil, bash the garlic cloves once or twice to remove the skins easily. Heat a deep, wide-bottomed pan over a medium heat and toast the sesame seeds for four to five minutes until pale golden all over. Set aside.
- Heat 200ml of the oil in the same pan over a medium to medium-high heat. If you heat the oil too fiercely it will burn the nuts before you manage to toast them. Add the peanuts and gently toast them until they turn a light caramel colour, turning the heat down if the oil sizzles too much.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook until it has turned soft and golden, about five minutes, before adding the chillies. Cook for a few more minutes until the chillies darken and smell toasted and nutty. Again, if the heat is too high, turn it down a little: if the chillies burn they will taste bitter. Add the salt, sugar and sesame seeds and pour in the remaining oil to stop the chillies cooking any further.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the chillies and half of the nuts and seeds to an upright food blender and blitz to a coarse crumb. Now add the rest of the oil and nuts and leave to cool. Store in a clean, sterilised bottle or jar.
- Heat 250ml of oil in a small saucepan until it is shimmering hot. Meanwhile, cut out small circles from the tortillas, keeping the off-cuts to fry for salads or snacks, and test one in the hot oil. If the oil bubbles up vigorously, then it is up to temperature. If the oil doesn’t move very much, wait for the temperature to rise further.
- Fry the tortillas in batches so that you are not bringing the temperature of the oil down too much, until crisp and golden. Drain the tostadas on kitchen paper. Reserve the oil.
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and toast the peanuts for about five minutes until pale golden all over. Remove them and roughly chop. Add a few tablespoons of the frying oil to the pan, followed by the onion and a good pinch of salt, and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft and sweet-tasting.
- All of this prep can be done a couple of hours in advance. Remove and set aside.
- When you are ready to eat, peel, de-stone and cut the avocado into quarters, then squeeze over the juice of half the lime. Heat the frying pan again and when it is smoking hot add a few splashes of the peanut oil followed by the prawns. Toss the prawns in the oil for a few minutes until they have turned from translucent to pink. Add the onions, most of the rest of the oil and the nuts and briefly stir to heat through. You do not want to overcook the prawns. Squeeze the rest of the lime juice over the prawns.
- Serve the tostadas with a smear of mayonnaise, the shredded lettuce, prawns and onion and top with the peanuts, avocado slices and more peanut oil drizzled over, scooping some of the delicious sediment from the bottom of the bottle over the prawns.
Chorizo, New Potato And Chile De Arbol Pizza
Serves: 4–6 (makes 3 x 30cm pizzas)
Time: Ready in 2 hours
500g new potatoes, scrubbed
500g mozzarella (or 2 large balls)
120g thinly sliced chorizo
A small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
80g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Chilli oil (see page 163), to drizzle
2 handfuls of rocket
1–2 avocados, peeled, de-stoned and sliced
For the pizza dough:
5g dried yeast
275ml warm water
400g type ‘00’ or strong bread flour,
plus more for rolling
1–2 tsp fine sea salt
A good slug of extra virgin olive oil
A good pinch of sugar
- For the dough, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil with the water and leave to sit for a few minutes.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl (or the bowl of a food mixer) and make a well in the middle. Pour in the yeast mix and using a fork, gradually bring in the flour from the sides and swirl it into the liquid to form a wet dough. Then knead by hand, or with a dough hook, until the dough is satiny and smooth. Put it in a clean bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm room for 90 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240°C/465°F/gas 9, or to its highest setting, and place a baking stone inside. Alternatively, use a baking tray lined with non-stick paper or dusted with flour. Simmer the potatoes until just tender in boiling, salted water. Cool slightly and then slice into thin rounds.
- Flour your hands and the worktop, then punch down the dough, knead for a few minutes and divide into two. Shape each piece into a ball and roll out on a lightly floured surface into 5mm thick rounds or, if you prefer, long, round oblongs. You can roll these out 20 minutes before baking. Transfer to a couple of well-floured baking sheets.
- Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil, then top with torn up little pieces of the mozzarella, the potato slices, chorizo, thyme and Parmesan and some chile de árbol oil. Slide the first pizza onto the hot stone or baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until crispy and golden. Scatter with rocket, more chile de árbol oil, sea salt and slices of avocado. Eat up!
Dark Chocolate, Chilli, Caramel And Macadamia Nut tart
Time: Ready in one hour
1 quantity of pastry recipe (see below) or 375g ready-made all-butter shortcrust pastry
1 egg white
For the chilli caramel:
50g macadamia nuts
½ tsp chilli flakes
150g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
75g soft brown sugar
3 large tablespoons golden syrup
150g crème fraiche
¼–½ tsp sea salt
For the chocolate ganache:
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
70g caster sugar
300g dark chocolate, broken into small
200g unsalted butter, diced
A few tablespoons of cream, if needed
For the pastry:
200g plain flour
40g icing sugar
60g unsalted butter (cold), diced
60g lard, diced
1 egg, separated
- To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar, butter and lard into a food processor and pulse a few
- times until the butter vanishes into the flour. Add the egg yolk and pulse again. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg white. Save a third to brush the pastry case and whizz the rest into the mixture, little by little, until the pastry comes together into a ball. You may need to add up to a tablespoon of ice cold water to bind the pastry. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least an hour.
- Roll the pastry two to three millimetres thick to fill the cake tin and lift it onto the tin. Press down firmly into the sides and corners of the tin, prick all over with a fork and trim away the excess pastry, allowing for a one centimetre overhang. Freeze for half an hour or chill in the fridge for up to a day.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Press some kitchen foil weighed down with baking beans inside the cake tin, ensuring that you fully cover the pastry. Blind bake for 25 minutes before removing the baking beans and cutting away the pastry overhang. Brush the pastry with a lightly beaten egg white and bake for another 5–10 minutes until the pastry is pale golden.
- Turn the oven down to 130°C/250°F/gas ½. Heat the macadamia nuts until they are lightly toasted, then roughly chop them. Crumble the chilli into a saucepan with the caster sugar and 25ml water and place over a medium-high heat until the sugar starts to darken in patches. Swirl the sugar around to mix the dark bits into the lighter ones without stirring. Once the sugar has turned a very dark reddish brown (just before it starts smoking and turning black), add the butter and stir to mix in. Then add the rest of the caramel ingredients, except the nuts, and keep stirring to combine until the mixture has reached 110°C. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts.
- For the ganache, preheat the oven to 170°C/335°F/gas 3.
- Whisk the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy. Place the broken chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate has melted into the butter, fold in the eggs and flour. If the chocolate splits – which it will do if you have over-heated it – beat in a few tablespoons of cold cream.
- Spoon enough caramel to just cover the bottom of the tin. Pour over the molten chocolate, bake in the oven for 5–10 minutes until just set, then remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature. Serve with lashings of crème fraiche or double cream.
Recipe taken from Chilli Notes by Thomasina Miers published by Hodder & Stoughton (£25)