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Low-Carb Mexican Cuisine

Some who love Mexican dishes may worry about the carbs they pack.

But, preparing a low-carb Mexican dish is not extraordinary. It's easy, says Scott Linquist, co-executive chef of New York's Dos Cominos.

He demonstrates his recipes on The Early Show for those seeking a Mexican low-carb resolution.

Linquist says he gets a lot of requests for non or low-carb meals at his restaurants and it's never a challenge making his patrons happy. He explains Mexican food is not always fattening. The salsa, for instance, has little or no calories until one adds the tortilla chips. One can create a Mexican menu that's 50 percent lighter if the chips, tortillas and other corn-based products are eliminated.

Also, the amount of oil used in most recipes should be limited.

For dips, Linquist offers vegetables like jicama, cucumber, carrots, celery and romaine lettuce.

Recipes

Shrimp and Vegetable Chile Relleno with Roasted Tomato and Chipotle Salsa

Ingredients
4 large fresh poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded.
1-2 tablespoons whole harvest soy bean oil (has no trans-fatty acids and works well for sauté, oils with no trans fat are the wave of the cooking future)
16 jumbo shrimp, peeled and cleaned, each shrimp cut into three pieces
1/4 cup diced onions
4 cloves garlic sliced thin
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced green olives
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 tablespoon chipotle chiles, canned, pureed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh butter (butter can be left out to further cut fat content)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Roast, peel and seed poblano chiles and reserve.

In a large hot sauté pan add 1 tablespoon oil and allow pan to get very hot, season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to sauté pan. Sauté shrimp for approximately 5 minutes until nice and brown, then remove shrimp from the pan. Place the empty pan back on the stove and add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until lightly brown, then add zucchini, tomatoes, olives, nuts and chipotle chile puree and continue to sauté for 5 minutes, finish by adding the shrimp back to the mixture, chopped cilantro, lime juice, butter and then season to taste. Allow mixture to cool.

When shrimp mixture is cool, fill each chile until fully stuffed, approximately 6 ounces of filling each. At this point chiles can be held in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer indefinitely. Linquist suggests using them immediately.

Roasted Tomato and Chipotle Salsa

Ingredients
6 plum tomatoes, roasted
1 small onion, peeled, quartered, roasted
4 cloves garlic, roasted
2-4 canned chipotle chiles, depending on heat tolerance level
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano, fresh chopped or dry
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

On a sheet pan (cookie sheet) place tomatoes, onions and garlic and then into the oven for approximately 15 minutes until ingredients are soft and lightly browned. Combine tomato, onion and garlic with all the other ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour contents of the blender into a medium sauce pot and over medium heat bring liquid to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Reserve warm.

Garnish

Pico de Gallo (fresh tomato salsa)

Ingredients
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced fine
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced fine
2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro, fresh, chopped
salt to taste

Sour cream (if desired light sour cream or none at all)

Chilean Sea Bass a la Veracruzana

2 pounds white fish filets, Chilean sea bass, red snapper, halibut

Ingredients for Sauce
2 tablespoon Whole Harvest Soybean Oil
2 large onions diced
1/4 cup garlic minced
24 tomatoes peeled seeded and chopped
1 cup sliced green olives
1/2 cup capers
1/2 cup chile vinegar
1/2 cup sliced pickled jalepeno and carrot, added to order
sachet with fresh bay leaves, parsley stems, peppercorns and oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped oregano

Sweat onions and garlic, no color. Add diced tomatoes and sachet, simmer slowly for 15 minutes.

Add olives, capers, chile vinegar and salt and pepper, simmer slowly 5 to 10 more minutes. Remove sachet. To order, bring sauce to a simmer add parsley, oregano, sliced pickled jalapeño and carrots. Finish with a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Chiles en Escabeche
(Pickled Jalapenos and Vegetables)

Ingredients
1 jalapeño
1 carrots peeled,
1 onion juliennes

Pickling mixture
1 quart white wine vinegar
1 quart water
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons dry oregano, Mexican
1 sprig thyme
10 black peppercorns

Bring liquid and aromatics to a simmer, pour hot liquid over carrots, onions and jalapeños. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool.

To order :
Saute fish a la minute.
Warm sauce and add finishing ingredients
Serve with white rice and garlic seared greens on the side.

Tuna Ceviche
Serves 4

Ingredients
12 ounces, trimmed sushi grade tuna, sliced thin
2 poblano chiles, thin julienne
2 red bell peppers, thin julienne
2 yellow bell peppers, thin julienne
1 large red onion, sliced thin
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 ounces mango-costeno chile salsa
sea salt or kosher salt to taste

Garnish
2 green plantains, fried for chips
sliced avocado

mango habanero chile salsa
8 ounces mango puree, 2 fresh mangos, peeled, seeded and pureed in a blender
1 fresh habanero chile
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
salt to taste

Salsa Verde
(Fresh Tomatillo Salsa)

10 tomatillos (one may substitute tomatoes for the tomatillos for a salsa roja)
4 cloves garlic
1 small onion, peeled, quartered
2 jalapenos, stems removed
1 bunch cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt

In a large sauce pot filled half way with water add tomatillos, garlic, onion and jalapenos, bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove ingredients from the water and allow to cool in the refrigerator. Place cooled ingredients in a blender with the remaining cilantro, lime juice and salt and pulse, longer for a smooth texture and shorter for coarse.

Linquist says this salsa is great for dipping. To reduce fat and carbs, he suggests dipping cucumbers, carrots, celery, jicama and romaine leaves instead of fried corn chips

This sauce also works well with chicken and fish.

Pomegranate Sangria

Ingredients
3 pomegranates
1 large orange
1 sweet apple, sliced
1 peach sliced
1 cup white cranberry juice
1 cup grenadine
1 cup Cointreau
1 cup brandy
2 cups Bacardi silver
1 bottle dry red wine, Rioja from Spain is traditional
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup fresh lemon juice

Juice the two pomegranates, the best way is to separate the fruit from the core, microwave it for about 5 seconds and then squeeze it through cheesecloth. Separate the seeds from the remaining pomegranate, place in a large jug or bowl. Slice the orange into rings and add to the bowl. Add remaining ingredients and allow at least two hours to overnight.

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