September 24, 2007

Dzik

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.

9 comments:

Erika W. said...

Oh my gosh! A friend of mine made this and it was incredible, but I couldn't find a recipe anywhere...apparantly my spelling was a bit off. :-) Thanks so much for posting!

Dawna said...

Hi Erika - I'm glad to be of help! We had trouble with the spelling, too, actually, between finding the recipe and deciding to make it, but we eventually worked it out.

Palle wanted me to mention that it is most traditionally made with venison, which seems unusual for a Mexican dish, but is often made with beef.

Erika W. said...

My friend made his with chicken breast, actually. And since we weren't sure how to eat it, ate it scooped up with corn chips like a salsa- it was so flavorful. I think you could get away with any kind of meat in this, but the venison is interesting. I never know what to do with venison when we gt it, so I'll make a note of that.

Dawna said...

Chicken! Oh, that sounds good, too. I think that you're right, that you could use any meat that you like to eat cold. Scooping with tortilla chips would work well, too - make it more of a party dish. We actually tore our corn tortillas into pieces and used them to grab bits of the Dzik, much as you might do with Indian breads and curries. I'm very keen to make it again.

DANIELLE said...

I LOVE Rick Bayless. Authentic Mexican food is one of my new interests. Luckily, there are more and more Mexican grocery stores popping up in my area.

DANIELLE said...

I love Ricky Bayless! Great recipe choice.

Anonymous said...

Dzik is a polish name, why would someone name a mexican dish with a polish name?

Dawna said...

I don't know how antique a dish Dzik really is, so I couldn't swear that it wasn't originally made from wild boar, and named by Polish ex-pats. Certainly, Mexico has a fairly large German population, (and the town of Merida, which is home to this particular dish, has a significant Lebanese population) but I do not know about Poles.

However, I suspect that it is simply an transliteration/approximation of a Mayan word, which is full of such sound-combinations. There are many, many words which have identical sounds, and yet entirely different meanings in different languages.

Le Quebequois said...

GOOD TIP: cook the meet SLOOOWLY, once the meet is cooked let it soak over night in it's juice! The difference is night and day, it captures all the flavor and moisture. Happy cooking! Viva Mexico