Cinco de Mayo signals the start of summer around these parts. We gather together for dinner and drinks, because what’s great about a mexican party is the food and drink! I particularly like Cinco de Mayo because it gives me the opportunity to showcase my mexican heritage cooking skills. In my family home it was always about the food, a tradition I have fully embraced. Having lived in Tucson for the last few years, my mother and I have a difference of opinion when it comes to what is served at the table. At my mother’s home in New Mexico you will find an array of green chicken enchiladas, green chile salsa and green chile con queso, all great-tasting but quite frankly (in my opinion), boring. Everything is green chile because my mom is emptying her freezer of all of last year’s green chile crop, so she would incorporate green chile in her dishes. Of course we were raised with forty acres of chile growing in our backyard, so needless to say the freezer was always filled with ziplocks of green.
I, on the other hand, have moved around the country from Florida to Arizona, and had to expand my repertoire because I couldn’t always get good green chiles aside from the canned goods at the grocery store, and sometimes not even those. So I enthusiastically began experimenting with local food that I found at the farmers markets in each city that I lived in.
After some of experimentation, I have settled upon a Cinco de Mayo dinner that suits my family. So, here it is: Bacon wrapped jalapenos or chilitos filled with crab or shrimp, grilled salmon with a mango-jalapeno or green chile salsa and a mixed greens salad with spicy chile dressing, and of course cold mexican beer and margaritas. My mom is not so enthusiastic about my choice, after all I am kind of bucking the tradition. So I must propose a truce: Both of our options are really really great….you be the judge! Salud!
Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos
(can be made a day or two ahead and kept in refrigerator until time to cook)
1 dozen jalapenos or yellow chilitos
1 block of cream cheese (softened)
1 1/2 cups of small shrimp or crab
8 slices of good bacon
1 cookie sheet
a cookie rack that fits inside of cookie sheet
parchment paper to line the cookie sheet with
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Take each chile and slice in-half, clear out the seeds. (I recommend gloves)
Cut each slice of bacon in half with a knife or kitchen scissors
Mix together the cream cheese and shrimp
Fill each chile cup with the cream cheese mix
Wrap each with a ½ slice of bacon, and place seam down
Place on rack over the cookie sheet so that the bacon grease will drip onto cookie sheet.
Cook for 20-25 min. or until bacon is crisp. (cook time depends on thickness of the bacon)
Can be cooked in oven or grilled, be careful, bacon can cause fire flares on grill.
Beware: These are addicting and I normally have to double the recipe!