Cinco de Mayo is a fun holiday to try out a new recipe or two, and that’s exactly what I did. Thanks to Estancia Wine and Gail Simmons, Mike and I prepared an amazing dinner last weekend as sort of a dress rehearsal for the real holiday on Monday, May 5. Both of these recipes are incredibly easy to prepare, and without a long list of crazy ingredients. (I prefer simpler recipes in which I don’t need to buy some obscure bottle of something I’ll never use again.)
Not only are these doable for a novice cook, but the dishes can be prepared successfully on a stovetop, if you don’t have a grill. For obviously reasons, I did not grill the ingredients as specified in the recipes. (If only I had a grill!). I did use my grill pan on high heat, however, and got almost the same results as if I had grilled outside.
Grilled-Fish Tacos with Mango-Cucumber-Mint Salsa
Paired with Estancia Monterey County Chardonnay
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 limes, 1 zested and juiced, 1 quartered lengthwise
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 pound skinless halibut, sea bass or striped bass fillets (We used sea bass)
1 mango, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
1 medium Serrano chili, seeded and diced
8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
4 radishes, halved if large, thinly sliced
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. In a medium dish, combine oil, zest and juice from 1 lime, cilantro and half of the shallot. Add fish; turn to coat. Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together remaining shallot, mango, cucumber, mint, half of the chili and generous pinch salt; stir to combine.
Remove fish from marinade. Grill flesh-side down, 4 minutes, then turn and cook until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer fish to a plate; let rest 5 minutes, then flake with fork.
Grill tortillas 10 to 15 seconds per side; remove from grill. Divide fish among tortillas; top with salsa, avocado and radishes. Garnish with cilantro and remaining chili, if desired. Serve with lime wedges.
Grilled Corn & Zucchini Quesadillas with Scallions, Cilantro and Pepperjack Cheese Paired with Estancia Monterey County Pinot Noir
1 ear of corn, shucked
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium zucchini, sliced on the sharp diagonal 1/8-inch thick (16 slices)
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on diagonal (1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
Preheat a grill to medium-high. Rub corn with oil and season with salt and pepper; grill, turning, until lightly charred all over, 6 to 8 minutes total. Let cool slightly, then cut the kernels off cob.
Brush zucchini with oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 3 minutes per side. Lay tortillas on a work surface. Leaving a 3/4-inch border, top evenly with cheese, corn, zucchini, scallions and cilantro then fold each tortilla over to form half moons. (Note: we used 2 whole tortillas instead, since Mike and I split one, and used a dinner plate to do the flip.) Grill quesadillas until cheese is melted, turning once, 5 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board; cut into wedges. Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot.