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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mexican Fruit...and a Recipe

In Mexican beach restaurants, once you have drunk the coconut water from the fruit, the waiter removes the coconut and returns it, ready to eat, complete with ubiquitous lime and chile

Mexican Fruit...and a Recipe
by Victoria Challancin

I often wax poetic on the beauty and virtues of Mexican produce, but nowhere do I become so over-the-top as when exposed the the glory of the Mexican tropics.  And although I live in the Central Highlands of Mexico, far from the beaches of either coast, I do get great fruithere--in fact, I counted no fewer than 10 different types this morning alone in my kitchen and fridge!).  But one trip to the beach, the same beach I have written about for the last few posts, reveals a completely different world--a world of fabulous roadside stalls, each one out-doing the other with the beckoning displays of local produce, rather like sirens' booths, luring the weary car travelers as they try to pass unscathed.  Of course, we had to stop.

See if you can recognize the fruits in the photos.  A couple were completely new to me.

When I saw this fruit, I was intrigued, thinking perhaps it was young tamarind.  It isn't.  Called guamuchil locally in Jalisco, the fruit has a tart-sweet white pulp

Tangerines and local sea salt

Star fruit, called carambola, is common

Coconut-shell vessels 

Coconuts for about 75 cents U.S.

Jackfruit (called yaka in local Spanish) is served already cut up in local fruit stands and bananas of all sorts are everywhere

A light-kissed box of ripening starfruit

So many types of bananas...

Another new fruit (slightly blurry)--smalled berries called arián.  I had never seen these before. 

Again, the coconut...

Fruits called coco de aceite (literally "oil coconuts")

The fruit in the foreground is mamey

Vendors everywhere have machetes ready to hack a coconut open for drinking/eating

We purchased two of these beauties to eat in the car on the long trip home

More coconuts--I'm only sorry I didn't get a photo of the 15- to 20-foot-high piles of them

Avocado Stuffed with Shrimp
The dish that inspired this recipe wasn't the one we actually ate in La Manzanilla, (I posted a photo last week), which, although excellent, couldn't compare to this one served by my friend Jennifer at her ranch one warm day last spring.  Her version featured dill, which is non-existent in traditional Mexican cuisine.  The recipe below is my take on her perfect dish--the best I have ever eaten.  Hers.

 Jennifer's perfect plate, complete with the stuffed avocado and fresh local asparagus, all  served atop the wildly festive Mexican oilcloth tablecloth

My version.  I can see now that I forgot the celery.

Cook's Note:  This was a terrific recipe, albeit maybe not as good as Jenny's.  Her version contained celery, which would be a nice addition.  I also cooked my shrimp in the shells.  To do so, simply drop them in some boiling water with a few bay leaves and lime slices, immediately turn the heat off, and allow them to sit for a few minutes until cooked through.  When the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, drain and allow to cool enough so that you can peel and devein them. I used medium-large shrimp (they don't grade them by numbers as in the U.S., but these were fairly large).

Recipe:  Avocado Stuffed with Dilled Shrimp Salad
(Recipe by Victoria Challancin, inspired by her friend)

1 1/2 lbs (750g) shrimp, cleaned, boiled, drained, and cooled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or lime)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
Lemon or lime wedges and dill sprigs for garnish

Cut each shrimp into thirds.  Set aside.

Mix mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Stir to combine.  Check and adjust seasoning.  Add cooled shrimp and gently mix.  Fill avocado halves with the shrimp salad.  Serve with lemon wedges and extra dill for garnish.

Variations:  Add chopped capers, jícama, celery, cucumber, and/or tomatoes.

Parting Shot:

©Victoria Challancin.  All rights reserved.

Like love and life, recipes are meant to be shared, but please ask permission before using text or photos.  Thanks!


Eha said...

What a delightful lesson in fruits available on your side! Australia, of course, does itself have a considerable variety and I have been to most of the Pacific Islands, but have never met guamuchi, arian or mamey. Nor seen anywhere as many types of bananas as you say! Many here do not know or use starfruit tho' it is available: I love the look and quite like the taste!! Thank you for the avocado/shrimp recipe, as our local avocado season is just beginning. Funny: I grew up in N Europe where everyone uses dill above all: somehow it is oft off my radar - you have it in your recipe too . . shopping Friday :) !

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

The fruit looks so ripe and delicious. And as a coconut lover I can see that I would have no shortage of sustenance in Mexico!

Hotly Spiced said...

So many of these fruits are new to me. I do know star fruit however. They are very pretty and I love the flavour xx

Joan Nova said...

I remember those cut fruit cups from the markets I visited in Oaxaca. But what really caught my eye was the chili lime -- I don't know if I'd have the nerve.

Carole said...

Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole's Chatter is collecting links to posts about Mexican dishes and flavours. I do hope you link this one in. This is the link . Please do pop back to check out some of the other links – there are a lot of good ones already. Have a great week.

Julia | said...

Love the photos of fresh produce! It reminds me of the farmer markets in Hawaii, where you can find just about the same tropical fruit: star fruit, coconut, bananas, etc.

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