Monday, May 10, 2010

Revisiting An Old Friend- Curtido

A couple of weeks ago Leslie, Jack and I made our somewhat bi-weekly pilgrimage to Tony's Mexican Restaurant in Katy. We are well aware of the closer location on Ella near the North Loop, but that location can't hold a candle to the hospitality offered by Ray and Gloria(Tony's sister) out in Katy.

Our usual routine is to sit at the bar for an appetizer(chips and queso at Jack's request). Les and I sip on the best frozen margaritas in town and we just sit and chat. As is our custom, we get pickled jalapenos on the side. When our order came out, I was chatting with Gabriel(the other owner) about the difference in the jalapenos. They weren't your standard rings. Cut irregularly, with sliced onions throughout and a distinct note of cumin and oregano. These were wonderful. Ray and Gabriel told me the kitchen staff makes them to eat and they don't normally share them with the guests. I talked Ray into giving me a pint to take home. I ate them with everthing. Breakfast tacos, Fajitas, Hamburgers. I was in heaven.

Those jalapenos got me to thinking about some of the "relishes" served throughout Houston that I came to love and expect over the years.  Ninfa's on Navigation had a curtido that was heavy on the onions. El Rey's version is heavy on the jalapenos with nice big chunks of garlic. La Tapatia used to put chunks of cauliflower in their version. All were good. All were different.

I dug through my memory(and recipe archives) and came up with a curtido recipe that captures the best of all worlds.

The carrots in this recipe are al dente and the garlic has a nice bite to it. There are just enough onions and jalapenos to give it a nice kick, but not over power it. The reviews so far have been positive and I am looking forward to tweaking the recipe just in time for the Summer grilling season. Who knows, you may see this on your grocer's shelf in the near future.