Smoky Tomato Salsa
Direct Grilling/High Heat
Makes about 2 cups
Make ahead: The salsa is best the day it is made. If not serving within 1 hour of making, cover and refrigerate.
Grilled vegetables give a smoky edge to this salsa. Canned chipotle chiles in
adobo, smoked jalapeno in a chile puree, are available at Latino markets. Be careful when handling the
chiles---they're very hot.
1 medium onion, cut in half crosswise, but unpeeled
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 large tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 garlic clove, minced
1. Build a charcoal fire in an outdoor grill and let it burn until the coals are covered with white ash. In a gas grill, preheat on High.
2. Lightly oil the cooking rack. Brush the cut surfaces of the onion with the oil. Place the onion halves, cut side down, on the grill, with the tomatoes, and cover. Grill until the onion is beginning to soften, about 3 minutes, then transfer the onion to a plate. Grill the tomatoes, turning occasionally, until the skins are cracked and peeling, about 5 minutes total, then transfer to the plate. Cool the onion and tomatoes un til easy to handle.
3.Cut the tomatoes in half through their equators and poke out the seeds with your finger Chop the tomatoes and transfer to a medium bowl. Peel and chop the onion and add to the tomatoes. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro,
chipotles, and garlic. Season with salt.
4. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving to blend the
Grilled Oysters Vera Cruz
Makes 4 to 6 appetizer servings
Direct Grilling/ High Heat
In Vera Cruz, fish are often served with a spicy tomato sauce, an idea that is easily transferred to oysters. Here, each shell gets a dollop of salsa before grilling, giving them a self-contained sauce.
Have the fish store open the oysters for you the morning you plan to grill them, because opened oysters spoil quickly. Nestle the oysters on a bed of ice in a roasting pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you are ready to grill.
If you have to open the oysters at home, don't bother with an oyster knife-there's an easier way. Use an old-fashioned, pointed can opener, the kind that are sometimes nicknamed "church keys. "Place a rinsed and well-scrubbed oyster, curved side down, on a folded kitchen towel. Oysters are usually teardropshaped. Locate the spot where the top shell meets the bottom shell at the pointed end of the teardrop. Pointed end up, wedge the point of the can opener into the hinge, about 1/4 inch below the tip of the shell. Push the end of the can opener downward, and the shell shouldpop open from the leverage. Run a small sharp knife around the top of the shell to release it. Slip the knife under the fat top shell to cut the oyster free, and discard the top shell. Run the knife underneath the oyster in the curved bottom shell to loosen the oyster meat. Refrigerate the opened oysters until you are ready to grill.
About 1 cup Smoky Tomato Salsa (page 26)
2 dozen large oysters, on the half-shell
1. Build a charcoal fire in an outdoor grill and let it bum until the coals are covered with white ash. in a gas grill, preheat on High.
2. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the salsa into each oyster shell. Place the oysters on the grill and cover. Cook just until the juices are bubbling, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the oysters to serving plates, being careful not to spill the juices in the shells. Serve immediately, with the lime wedges.