In Mesa Mexicana, Mary Sue and Susan offer their unique
interpretations of the tastes of coastal Mexico with a bold, colorful
cuisine that excites the palate and satisfies a yen for earthy, rustic
flavors without the heaviness of most standard fare. Best of all, the
very healthy and inexpensive recipes can be made at home with minimal
fuss. Many of the recipes in Mesa Mexicana appear on the menu at Border
Grill to this day.
Green Corn Tamales
Makes 10 to 12 tamales, or 6 servings
10 ears corn
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
pinch of sugar, if necessary
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup hominy grits
1 recipe Salsa Fresca, see recipe
sour cream for serving
Remove the corn husks by trimming off both ends of the cobs, trying to
keep the husks whole. Place the largest husks in a pot of hot water and
set aside to soak.
To make the stuffing, working over a bowl, run the point of a sharp
knife down the center of each row of kernels, and then scrape with the
dull side to remove the kernels.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the corn and
its juices, the salt, pepper, the sugar if the corn isn't sweet and the
cream and simmer until the mixture thickens, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside
to cool. Then stir in the baking powder and grits and reserve in the
Drain the corn husks on paper towels. Make ties for the tamales by
cutting a few of the husks into strips.
To stuff the tamales, overlap 2 or 3 husks and spread about 3
tablespoons of corn filling down the center. Fold over the sides and
then the ends to enclose the filling. Tie with a corn husk string.
Repeat with the remaining filling and additional corn husks.
In a steamer or a pot fitted with a rack, make a bed for the tamales
with the remaining corn husks. Add the tamales and steam over low heat
for 1 hour. Remove from the steamer and let rest 10 minutes. Serve hot
with the Salsa Fresca and sour cream.
Makes 2 cups, or 6 appetizer servings with chips
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and finely diced
1/4 red onion, minced
2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired and minced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir and toss well, and
serve. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator no more than 1
Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic
3/4 cup olive oil
25 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 3/4 pounds rock or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large ancho chiles, wiped clean, stemmed, seeded and finely julienned
1 cup fish stock or clam juice
juice of 3 large limes
1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the
garlic slices until tender but not brown. Transfer with a slotted spoon
to paper towels and reserve.
Turn the heat under the pan up to high. Quickly toss the shrimp with the
salt and pepper in a bowl. When oil is nearly smoking, add the shrimp.
Sauté, stirring and shaking the pan to prevent sticking, 3 to 4 minutes
or just until the shrimp are still slightly undercooked. Remove from the
heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a platter, leaving as
much liquid as possible in the pan.
Return the pan to the burner and reduce the heat to medium. Add the
garlic slices and anchos and sauté, stirring frequently, until the oil
begins to turn orange from the chiles. Stir in the fish stock or clam
juice, along with the shrimp and any juice that has collected on the
platter. Add the lime juice and parsley, bring to a boil and remove from
the heat. Serve immediately over white rice.