On June 4, 2010, the states of Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo were awarded a Denominación de Origen for the habanero variety of chile pepper by The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) of the Ministry of Economy. Thus the habanero joins the ranks of the Espellette chile of France and the smoked paprika of Spain, Pimentón de la Vera, as the only pepper products to win the same protection as Champagne, Parmesan cheese, and Dijon mustard. In Mexico, this means that if a manufacturer wants to use the word “habanero” for his product, it must contain habaneros made in these three states and nowhere else. This declaration will help the habanero growers of the Yucatán peninsula, the original home of the habanero in Mexico. See our article here for more information, and enjoy one of my favorite habanero recipes below.
Yucatecan Shrimp Cocktail
Yucatecan cooks serve seafood cocktails in tall parfait glasses with a thin sauce that is more like a juice. The chopped onions, cilantro and habaneros are served separately so that everyone can add just as much or as little as they wanted.
2 large tomatoes, roasted, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
1/4 cup bitter orange juice or substitute 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh preferred
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup minced red onion, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 habanero chile, stem and seeds removed, minced
Put the tomatoes, orange juice, and oil in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Stir in the sugar and 1/2 of the onion and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes in a saucepan and then cool.
Fill parfait glasses with the shrimp and add the juice until covered. Place the remaining onion, cilantro, and chiles on a plate and serve on the side.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Heat Scale: Medium-hot
For more food history and recipes on the subjects of Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, just click on the image below.