Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More On the Cecina Scene

I posted a link to this blog on the Any port in a storm forum, and got some feedback from Oaxaca area resident. "Bixaorellana"

Nicely done report, DonC, although I've got some quibbles. One is that the pork version of cecina is not semi-dried. As a matter of fact, it's quite common to order it and wait for the butcher to make it from a solid piece of pork right in front of you. And the two versions are cecina blanca -- simply salted, and cecina enchilada. The cecina enchilada is smeared not with chile molida (ground dried chile), but with a paste of ground chile guajillo, garlic, oregano, vinegar, salt & maybe some secret ingredients. Each meat stall has its own recipe.

Ditto the beef tasajo (no accent on the o!). When you ask for tasajo, it's fresh beef, although dried versions are usually hanging over the display area. I need to find out if they're called tasajo as well. It's always simply dressed with salt around here -- no enchilada version.
Mexican food is so very regional, however, (note the disparity between what's cecina here & what's tasajo) that maybe cecina in other parts of the country is always semi-dried.
You are totally correct in your response to the reader who questioned the red flag. That misguided person must think that all the meat he buys in the supermarket is truly "fresh".
And more:

Food in Oaxaca is frequently over-salted. When I first moved here, I thought I'd never be able to eat out, as so often the food seemed ruined with too much salt.
Cecina and tasajo don't have to be too salty. Since meat cutters (who are very frequently women around here) are quite willing to make it for you on the spot, you could request it with no salt at all.
If you wanted to try it, you could have your local meat cutter thinly butterfly something like a piece of top sirloin. Take that home & lightly salt it yourself. Let it set at least a half hour, then cook it in a very hot, lightly oiled skillet. For pork, something like boneless loin would do the trick. It's very good with some kind of light salsa added at the table -- try fresh minced chiles, minced or crushed garlic, lime juice and cilantro.
I can't vouch for this recipe as I've not tried it, but it looks like a pretty good guide if you want to try the spiced pork cecina. As I point out above, there's no reason to bother with the drying process.
I appreciate the authoritative input from our friend, Bixa.
Over the weekend, Doña Cuevas and I visited Guanajuato. Rachel Laudan had given me a lead on a restaurante campestre, "La Cabaña de Lolita", at Puerto Barrientos, a few kilometers from Santa Rosa.

Three of us sampled their crispy cecina, as part of a more extensive meal. It was delicious yet even less substantial than the usual kind, cut more thickly.
Here's a look:

I found a photo I took in January of plated cecina enchilada, at Restaurante María Bonita, in Oaxaca.
Nice, but it doesn't have the rustic character of that at La Cabaña de Lolita.


Koekkener said...

Great and yummy food. I love it, thank you for sharing....

Don Cuevas said...

Welcome, Koekkener, and gracias.

Don Cuevas

Anonymous said...

Don Cuevos, thanks for all the wonderful posts. Just got caught up with the last 2 months. Now I am hungry! Sorry I didn't get to call you while in Pátzcuaro a couple of weeks ago. Just got too busy. Dee