Lent Recipe With A Spring Twist

Chef and author Amalia Moreno-Damgaard is in studio to share a delicious Mexican “Cuaresma” (Lent) recipe with a spring twist.

Shrimp Cakes with Ancho-Guajillo Sauce and Grilled Cactus

Makes 10 to 12 cakes

Salsa de Chile (Ancho-Guajillo Sauce)
1/3 cup diced onion
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
¾ cup diced tomatoes
1/3 cup diced tomatillos
1 ancho chile, seeded and deveined
1 guajillo chile, seeded and deveined
½ cup water
1/8 teaspoon oregano
Smidge cumin
Smidge ground cloves
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (6 oz.) bag cooked salad shrimp, chopped
¼ cup dried ground shrimp
¼ to ½ teaspoon hot pequin chile powder (optional)
1 ½ tablespoon instant corn masa flour, or corn starch
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup canola oil
1 fresh cactus paddle, thorn-free, washed, pat dry, lightly brushed with canola oil, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper

Microgreens, cilantro sprigs, lime wedges

Combine all the ingredients of the sauce in a sauce pan and bring to a quick boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, until all ingredients are soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. With an immersion blender, purée the mixture until smooth.

With two layers of paper towels, squeeze as much water out of the chopped shrimp. Do this at least three times. Combine the chopped and ground shrimp and corn masa flour (or cornstarch) in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form,
about 5 minutes. Add the yolks. Beat 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer. With a soft
spatula, gradually fold in the shrimp mixture with the beaten eggs until well incorporated and the
batter looks wet and crumbly.

In a deep skillet, heat the oil until very bubbly at medium heat. Test the oil with a wooden spoon.
Drop tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil, flatten slightly with a small spatula, and fry until
golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the cakes to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb
excess oil.

Heat a nonstick griddle for 2 minutes at medium high heat. Place the cactus paddle on the hot
griddle and grill until lightly charred, about 3 minutes per side.

Dish assembly: Place the grilled cactus paddle on a cutting board and cut it in half lengthwise, then
slice it on the narrow side to end up with ½-inch thick slices. Keep the paddle form together. Add
some sauce on the paddle slices, arrange the cakes on top, and garnish with cilantro and lime
wedges. Serve the leftover sauce on the side.

Purchase Amalia’s second cook book, Amalia’s Mesoamerican Table