Sunday, May 20, 2012

Everything is better on a stick: Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil

Looking for a fresh, fun, tasty option for a summer barbecue appetizer?  Here is a great idea I put together for BBQ I went to tonight. I was inspired by a recipe I saw on my app, but I changed it a bit, so here is what I did.

8 inch wooden skewers
1 ripe cantaloupe, (make cantaloupe melon balls using a melon baller)
1 container of grape tomatoes
1 package of basil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 containers (16 oz) of the small mozzarella balls in water (8 oz per container). Or you could buy a big ball of mozzarella and cut it up
About 6 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto
1 medium Shallot (peeled and quartered)
Salt and Pepper


I made two different types of skewers.
  • For the tomato and mozzarella skewers I put three grape tomatoes and two mozzarella balls on each skewer in alternating order: tomato, cheese, tomato, cheese, tomato. (I think it made about 12 skewers)
  • For the cantaloupe, prosciutto and mozzarella skewers I put three cantaloupe balls, 2 mozzarella balls and 1 piece of prosciutto (cut in half so it makes two pieces per skewer) in alternating order: cantaloupe, prosciutto, mozzarella, cantaloupe, prosciutto, mozzarella, cantaloupe. (I think this made about 12 skewers)
  • Then, I made a delicous and easy sauce to drizzle over all the skewers
  • In a food processor or blender, put in basil leaves (I used the whole package from the prepacked basil section), and ~1/2 cup olive oil, 1 quartered medium shallot and a generous pinch of salt. Pulse it so it turns into a sauce and the pieces of basil are very small.
  • I then drizzled the sauce over everything and put in the fridge to mellow and chill for about an hour before serving
  • Before serving, sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper (yes, even on the fruit ones). Salt makes everything better.
These disappeared and both kinds were popular! Enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Nuevo Laredo Salmon Tacos Replicated

My favorite Mexican restaurant in Atlanta is Nuevo Laredo Cantina.  It is a hole in the wall, authentic Mexican restaurant. Everything is always so good there - their quesadillas, chicken mole, chips...but I always seem to go back to their fish tacos, which are awesome.  They are Tacos de Pescado on the menu and have salmon, spinach and cheese sauce in them.

Well, I was in the mood for said tacos on Sunday, and I decided to be a little crazy and attempt to replicate them.  Let me tell you, I think I  made a pretty darn close replica...they were awesome.

Here's what you do.  I'm not listing out the ingredient amounts exactly because it's a just put it all in there. If it's a little off, no big deal. 

  • Small Flour Tortillas (I like La Banderita Fajita size)
  • Fresh Spinach (buy a bag of it, and then use about a handful for every taco you are making)
  • Shredded Coleslaw/Cabbage Mix (buy a bag of it, then you will use a pinch or two for each taco)
  • Salmon (not sure how much raw, but i would say you want 1.5-2 oz cooked per taco).  I'd say a a good size fillet for every 4 tacos.
  • Store bought Mexican cheese dip (I used Queso-Melt brand) - buy one container and you'll use a spoon or so per taco
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder (or you can use real garlic, but I took the easy way out)
  • Season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper
  • Grill or roast until desired done-ness.I always think 20 mins on 400 degrees is a good place to start. Personally, I did mine in the grill pan.  Once cooked, break or cut into chunks.
  • While the salmon is cooking, use a good amount of cooking spray or a little oil and saute your spinach.  I would use about a handful raw per taco you plan to make.  Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste to the spinach as it wilts over medium high heat.  Once wilted, remove from heat.
  • Warm your tortillas in a pan for a minute or so on each side.  I just put them straight on top of a gas burner...warning (don't try this at home if you aren't paying attention) to give them a little char on each side
  • are ready to assemble.
  • Take the warm tortilla and add a spoonful of the queso melt (note: the queso melt will be hard since you didn't put in the microwave to warm up...that is OK it will melt soon). Spread it on the warm tortillas.
  • Then, add some of the spinach mixture to each taco. I would say cooked it's about 1/8-1/4 cup.
  • Then, add the broken up chunks of salmon to the taco. I would allow for 1.5-2 oz of cooked salmon per taco
  • Then, (not sure if Nuevo does this or not, but it was a good addition), add a little bit (maybe a couple pinches) of the cabbage/slaw raw mixture on top.
Enjoy your "at home" Nuevo Laredo experience.