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Nov 1, 2007 06:48 PM

Rat in a twilight zone

I am customarily fiercely faithful to mexican cuisine, where I have spent some years despite being an expat dane. Tonight I fixed pink florida shrimp, Worcestershire, soy sauce, ajo, orange juice, a mountain of coarse fresh ginger, vidalia onion, and cubanelle peppers, (which are a questionable hybrid to me) for a platter of fajitas de camarones which was incredibly sabroso, but not mexican authentic. But the ginger added an incredible dimension.. I can't call it mexican any more. How do we honestly describe hybrids, without taking undue credit or diluting local customs?

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  1. I can't decide if you're playing catch-up fusion with Ming Tsi or Diana Kennedy, who I understand is not a fusionist. Sounds very tasty, tho.

    A hybrid by it's very nature is an entity unto itself, although must be maintained through cultivation. Hybridists have every right to claim the results of their labors as their own, as long as the cultivar is original to the discoverer. Local custom remains entact. The hybrid takes on a life of its own.

    1. But I wish I understood what your subject header means! When you say "ajo, orange juice" you're saying you used mojo de ajo and extra OJ, correct? Or is "ajo" by itself something I'm not aware of?

      1 Reply
      1. re: tatamagouche

        I used fresh garlic and and a couple of teaspoons of frozen orange juice concentrate which seems to go well with shrimp and lots of ginger. Soy and ginger are not traditional mexican ingredients and I felt a bit like a "rat" for wandering so far from traditional fajita preparation. Maybe I should have just called the dish "shrimp a la Veggo" and not disparage real mexican cuisine.

      2. It's a non-issue. The nation of Mexico is not sitting at home alone twisting its hanky and sobbing over your "unfaithfulness"! LOL....

        Tonight you made Camarones Veggo. Good on you! Now go and make some more.

        2 Replies
        1. re: KenWritez

          finely minced ginger in ceviche is a revelation!!!! i first learned of it at banana cafe in dc.

          1. re: KenWritez

            Thanks. I suppose I get a bit sensitive about my mexican cooking because I am no Cristina or Sam or dining diva or Eat Nopal. But it is fun trying and learning from new heroes.

          2. If you had to substitute a non-salty ingredient for the Worcestershire, what would you use? I want to try your recipe, but I'm cutting back my salt intake. Also, I'm in CA and haven't heard of cubanelle peppers--do they have other names and are they available on the west coast?

            4 Replies
            1. re: KenWritez

              I'm humbled and flattered. You didn't mention the soy; are you OK with low sodium soy? Cubanelle peppers (never my first choice) seem to be half anaheim and the rest is a mystery to me. Very mild and don't add much. Poblanos would be better and would add that little extra 'umph' if you leave out the Worchershire. There are enough flavors at work here already. The sweet from the orange (I think lime would be to much, though I love limes) the shrimp and onion are slightly sweet or neutral at best, the poblano is one of my favorite flavors. I might have overdone it with the ginger, but i'd do it again the same way. Garlic may be overkill, but I always use it. The shrimp require only a fraction of the cooking time that the peppers and onions need, so add then toward the end. I just nuke my flour tortillas in a moist towel for a bit.Good luck if you dare try.

              1. re: Veggo

                D'oh! Sorry, I meant a substitute for the soy, not the W. That's just light enough in sodium I can handle it. Now, as for peppers: Poblanos and anchos are common here, year round. I'm definitely going to roast them off, tho. Since I need low amounts of salt in the dish, I have to jump up the flavor as much as I can.

                Just looking at the ingredients, I'm thinking to marinate the shrimp in the garlic, OJ, ginger, peppers, and perhaps a touch of palm sugar and vinegar. (I'm impressed by the balancing of sweet, sour, salty, savory and bitter flavors in Thai cooking, so I try to incorporate that protocol in my own kitchen. So far it seems to work for my savory dishes. [The biggest surprise was how well it worked for chili.])

                I'm considering experimenting with two different cooking methods, poaching and frying. I can toss the marinated shrimp into a hot, oiled frying pan for a few minutes, or poach them in more of the marinade plus some fish stock.

                1. re: Veggo

                  Soooo, if I were to make your recipe, I would marinate the shrimp in the W, SS, minced garlic, OJ, ginger for about 30 minutes.... Sautee the onions & peppers for a bit, add the shrimp, scoop out of the pan when just pink, add marinade & reduce. Pour over the shrimp.
                  Instead of tortillas I might serve over Texmati rice. I'm thinking that would work quite nicely.