Tequila Cured Salmon Serves 2 — On the Cover WHAT YOU WILL NEED 1 pound salmon, skin removed 3
“Both are made with agave, but tequila and mezcal are very different spirits,” explains principal bartender Sara Rowden. Taste for yourself. Recipes for Johnny Sanchez’s tequila and mezcal cocktails are available at www.rouses.com.
dried chipotles, seeded and stemmed and broken into small pieces
third sip is perfect.” At Johnny Sánchez, sliced oranges and chili salt or worm salt are served alongside shots of tequila and mezcal. “They kiss everything they eat and drink in Mexico with a little acid and a little salt. That’s probably where our American idea of salt, tequila and lime came from.” The worm salt or “sal de gusano” is made from salt ground with dried Oaxacan chiles and toasted maguey worms—edible worms that live and feed on the agave plants. A few mezcal producers have been known to place a maguey worm at the bottom of the bottle, probably for marketing purposes. Mexicans certainly aren’t afraid to eat bugs. “They eat grasshoppers like we eat peanuts.” If you’re feeling a bit buggy after a round of mezcal at Johnny Sánchez, order the grasshopper guacamole.
months. Darker añejos and extra añejos stay in the barrel at least one year. We sampled blanco , reposada and añejo at Johnny Sánchez. “Good tequila isn’t harsh. You’re not going to make a funny face when you drink it,” Landrem explained when the glasses arrived. “You don’t have to shoot it, and you can skip the lime and salt. Those are just training wheels.” Landrem spent the last leg of his trip in Oaxaca where Rodrigo also acted as guide. “There were mezcal tours leaving every minute, but he insisted we avoid them.” Instead they visited private places tourists rarely see. “I got a real education in mezcal.” All tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. “All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine can be
¼ cup kosher salt ½ cup tequila HOW TO PREP
Place the chipotle pieces in a spice grinder and grind until they are smaller. Add the kosher salt and grind until the chipotle and salt is blended. Set aside. Place the salmon in a shallow dish that can hold it comfortably. Brush the fish with half of the tequila. Cover and let sit for an hour. Add the chipotle salt to both sides of the fish, recover, and let sit for four hours. Place the fish on a plate lined with enough cling wrap to cover it. Pour the juices on top along with the remaining tequila. Wrap the fish tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four more hours to overnight. Unwrap the fish, rinse well, and slice 1-inch thin. Serve cold with chimichurri crème fraîche. Garnish with pickled red onions and sliced raw radishes. Get the recipe for Aarón Sánchez’s pickled onions at www.rouses.com. Chimichurri Crème Fraîche Makes 1 cup WHAT YOU WILL NEED 1 cup crème fraîche (available in Rouses Dairy Department) 1 tablespoon capers, with juice 3 cloves garlic, peeled, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
called Champagne. It has to be produced in the Champagne region of France. Tequila has to be produced in certain regions.” Tequila and mezcal are both made with agave, but while tequila can only be made with blue agave, mezcal can be made with almost any variety. Tequila is made with raw agave. Mezcal is made with roasted agave, which gives it that smoky flavor. The agave is roasted in hand- dug pits filled with volcanic stone. You can taste the difference between each batch of mezcal. That’s a source of pride and worry in Oaxaca. “They’re that religious about their mezcal,” Landrem explained. “They build altars to the batches before they cook. It’s similar to what we do on St. Joseph’s Day. Landrem explained the right way to drink mezcal. “You taste it once, just sort of swish it around. Then you taste it again. The second sip is better. The
½ cups cilantro ¼ cup parsley ¼ cup. oregano 1
1 tablespoon chives Juice and zest of ½ lemon salt to taste HOW TO PREP
Roughly chop the garlic, capers and all the herbs, add to a food processor and blend together with the caper juice and drizzle in the olive oil. Season with salt and finish with the lemon juice and zest. Before serving gently whisk together the crème fraîche and chimichuri sauce.
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