Cinco de Mayo
Truth be told, Cinco de Mayo is one of my favorite holidays. I never celebrated it growing up but just about 2 years ago I suddenly fell in love with this holiday. Sure, it’s a fabulous excuse to drink as much tequila and beer as your liver can handle. But it is also an excuse to explore the rich culinary heritage just south of the border. In years passed I have done straight up rice and beans. It’s cheap, easy, and there’s always plenty to go around. But this year I decided to get a little more involved with the culinary side of things and do some tostadas. (Hell, who doesn’t love a plate you can eat right?) Look at these beautifully fried corn tortillas topped with shredded chicken or pork, slathered with salsa verde, topped with queso blanco pickled red onion, and thinly sliced radishes. (If you don’t eat at least 3 of these in a single sitting, you’re doing it wrong)
For the chicken, I do it really simple. Salt, pepper, and just enough oil to keep them from sticking (I like to use avocado oil because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor). Throw those babies right on the grill, and make sure it’s hot, put them on right after you dump the coals so you can ensure to get a nice sear.
Now listen carefully, because I am going to tell you the trick to the perfect chicken breast: once you have gotten a sear on both sides remove them from the grill and place them on sheet pan and finish them in the oven at 300F. (Did I mention #LowAndSlow?) Use your probe thermometer on the smallest piece first and then cycle through all of the pieces removing them as they come to 163F or 164F (you’re looking for 165 but they’ll coast the rest of the way). If you do this I guarantee you will never have had a juicer chicken breast. (I have grilled over 115 times since last Cinco de Mayo trust me, I know my shit) Once they’ve come to room temperature, let them rest for 20 minutes or so, then shred the chicken with two forks. This must be done while the chicken is still warm, and if you do, you’ll get this:
Let’s move on to the salsa verde. With a sauce like this you have to keep it simple just tomatillos, serranos, cilantro, lime, a single clove of grated garlic, salt and pepper. But that doesn’t mean we can have a little fun right. I decided to blowtorch the tomatillos (’cause fuck it that’s why).
Take some paper towels and rub the char off, and when you do you’re left with these beautiful little green gems. (Seriously their color while they’re still warm is probably the most beautiful green you’ll ever see)
Throw those in the food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and you’re left with this luscious green mixture:
When you’re ready to eat just set it all out and let the fiesta begin.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
And don’t forget: hell is other people in the kitchen.