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.
If you’re not a white wine drinker, you can pair the Estancia Pinot Noir with both dishes, and likewise for the Chardonnay. Both of these wines are extremely drinkable and versatile.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
I received both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Estancia.