|Map by Paul Mirocha, Desert Botanical Garden|
Mariscos Chihuahua. Mariscos is Spanish for seafood. One day, on our way back from a morning visit to the Desert Museum, we saw the sign for the restaurant and, as we were starving, decided to stop in.
¡Vamos a cocinar!
5 large poblano chiles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large white onion, diced
1 7.6-ounce can Nestlé media crema (see notes)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken base (see notes)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if your poblanos are too mild)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds raw small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup queso fresco or grated Mexican cheese
flour tortillas or rice for serving
garnishes: cilantro, tomatoes, avocados, Mexican limes
Roast the poblano chiles on the grill or on the gas flame of your stove until very black. Place the roasted chiles in a paper bag, close tightly and then place in a plastic bag. Seal the plastic bag and let sit 10 minutes to soften the skins. Remove as much of the blackened skin as possible, but do not run them under water to help, as it will take away flavor. Slice open; remove and discard seeds and stems. Place seeded chiles in a blender.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion till just beginning to turn golden. Add onion and any accumulated oil to the blender.
To the peppers and onion, add the media cream, whole milk, and chicken stock concentrate. Purée until the mixture is absolutely smooth and creamy. Taste and add salt, if needed (the soup base concentrate - even when low-sodium - has a significant amount of salt). Pour into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. (Sauce can be prepared two days in advance and kept refrigerated. Bring to a simmer before proceeding.)
Melt butter over medium-high heat on a large skillet and add shrimp. Sauté until pink and just cooked through. Do not overcook.
Preheat broiler to high.
Divide shrimp among 6 small, oven-proof bowls and then evenly pour heated sauce over the shrimp. Top the sauce with the grated cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and turning golden. Serve at once with white rice or tortillas, with garnishes on the side.
• You might have trouble finding the media crema. It can be found in Latino grocery stores, and in the international isle in some supermarkets. If you can't find it, you can substitute crème fraîche, although it will be slightly tangier.
• I use Minor's low-sodium chicken base, but there are other brands readily available. Make sure it is a paste, and not granules or in cube form.