There are a lot of tacos to choose from in San Pancho, but the taco stand that's mentioned most often is Tacos con Eva, a streetside setup of plastic patio furniture, a couple of propane burners and a condiment table that will knock your socks off. The night we went, Eva was serving up chicken tacos, chile rellenos, tortilla soup and the gooiest homemade flan you can imagine. I went "not very hungry" and ended up eating way more than I set out to eat. (This seems to be a continuing habit of mine.)
In addition to her streetside restaurant, Eva offers cooking classes every Wednesday in her open-air kitchen. This week, she taught a group of us eager and hungry gringos how to make pate de camaron, a fresh and shrimpy seafood spread you can serve on chips, toast, crackers or just by itself, and a fiery sauce to go alongside. We fumbled our way through her Spanish-only instruction, learning new words, new ingredients and the value of gesturing. The results? Sabroso!
I've pared down the recipes to serve the 6-8 range, and I've shared them below this here photo gallery. Enjoy!
Pate de Camaron
- 1 lime
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 1/4 c. crema natural (or creme fraiche)
- 1/4 c. mayonnaise
- 3 rajas chiles (or canned jalapenos), finely diced
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot of salted simmering water, squeeze the lime juice into the pot, then add the shrimp and cook until just pink, about 90 seconds. Drain the shrimp and allow them to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, whiz the shrimp in batches in a food processor or blender until finely chopped.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped shrimp, diced tomatoes, diced onion, crema/creme fraiche, mayonnaise and chiles/jalapenos, folding gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you have any juice left in the lime, feel free to add that too.
Salsa con Cacahuates (muy picante!)
- 1/4 c. cooking oil (your choice)
- 1/4 onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, whole
- 1 c. raw peanuts
- 2 medium tomatoes, halved
- 1 c. dried arbol chiles
- salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sauté pan, heat the cooking oil and add the sliced onion and cook over medium heat until just translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the whole garlic clove and cook 30 seconds longer. Remove the onion and garlic from the pan and place it in a medium bowl, reserving the cooking oil in the pan.
Next, add the raw peanuts to the pan and cook for about a minute. Remove the peanuts from the pan and add them to the onion/garlic mixture, reserving the cooking oil in the pan.
Next, add the halved tomatoes to the pan, sautéing them until they begin to blister and brown, about 2 minutes. Add the dried arbol chiles and continue to cook for about a minute more, tossing regularly to coat in the oil. Remove the tomatoes, arbol chiles and remaining oil in the pan, combining them with the onion/garlic/peanut mixture.
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor with a 1/4 cup water and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Watch out, a little goes a long way!