September 24, 2007


I'm always intrigued when I am exploring another cuisine, and I find that there is a common use of an ingredient that I do not associate with that culture. In Mexican cookery, I would never have guessed (based on the restaurants in my neck of the woods) that radishes play a frequent supporting role.

Likewise, I was not expecting to find such a thing as a cold beef salad, although when I did, it didn't surprise me at all that it was full of spicy habanero chiles. Palle, who has been to the Yucatan, fell in love with this dish, but didn't know what it was called until we saw it being made on a television show. Recipe now accessible, he wanted to make it right away. So he did.

The dish is called Dzik, and is also known more generically as Yucatecan salpic├│n de res. The recipe is from Rick Bayless's Mexico, One Plate at a Time (season 5). Because it is served cold, it is perfect summer food, and while summer is definitely on the way out, here in the Pacific Northwest, we squeezed in one last summery dinner.

The avocado should be sprinkled over the Dzik, but Palle doesn't like avocado as much as I do, so we left it on the side. Also, the Dzik should be resting on top of a bed of lettuce, but we didn't quite get around to doing that, although the presentation would be nicer. Thick, spicy black beans, hand-chopped fresh salsa cruda, and corn tortillas rounded it all out, and we enjoyed every little bit of it.

Next time, I think we will simmer the meat a little longer, to make it even more tender, and chop the red onion a little finer. Other than that - I wouldn't change a thing. Full of tangy lime juice, zippy habanero peppers, fresh crunchy radishes, and (for me) creamy avocado, it was tasty and satisfying, and definitely on the "let's make again" list.

I may not be able to wait until next summer.