Rick Bayless says that the marriage of green chile and cilantro is iconic in the Mexican kitchen. So I made the green chile adobo, a kind of Mexican pesto, which offers a way to preserve fresh herb flavor and add depth and interest to everyday dishes. Key ingredients include roasted garlic and serrano chiles, parsley, cilantro and lots of olive oil. All blended together in a blender or food processor. See the cheat sheet below for details.
Once you have this beautiful Mexican saucy flavoring on hand, the possibilities are limitless. Toss it with pasta. Mix with eggs. Smear over roasted vegetables. Drizzle on dips. Saute with seafood. I made this adobo a few weeks ago. Surprised how it stays vibrant, green and flavorful for so long.
I added this herby and spicy green chile adobo to shrimps and caramelized onions for a delectable main course. That took me only minutes from start to finish. Caramelized the onions took six to seven minutes under medium heat in a large cast iron skillet. Then the onions were set aside. Using the same skillet, I heated two tablespoons of vegetable oil until the pan was sizzling hot. Tossed in the shrimps that I dried thoroughly. They were browned in less than two minutes under high heat. (I used one pound of 31-40 per pound raw shrimps in two batches.) Off the heat, the onions and dollops of green chile adobo mixture were stirred into the shrimps. Done!
Rich Bayless cooked all the onions and shrimps together for about 5 to 6 minutes in a large skillet in one full scoop. I took a more conservative approach and cooked them separately, so that the onions were nicely caramelized and the shrimps were richly browned.
In his book More Mexican Everyday, Rick Bayless wrote about simple ways to create dynamic flavor. His short cuts call for making one of these flavor-packed adobos and sauces that you’d always want to have in the refrigerator, ready to be deployed anytime. He features them as his secret weapons. I’m looking forward to try my hands on the other secret weapons I haven’t tried yet: a marinade-like red chile adobo, a slow-roasted garlic mojo and a smoky sweet-sour dark chipotle seasoning. Yum!
In Mexican cooking, the flavorings have a lot to do with the adobos, as I’ve uncovered here.