WanderSups Hannah Gregory combines Mexican and Italian flavours in ‘a fusion of love’
There are few greater pleasures in life than the flavours of Mexico. Yes, all of them, and exceptional beef.
One of my favourite dishes of all time is Beef Carpaccio. Recently, whilst spending time in the Caribbean I was eating chips and guac-natch before heading to an Italian restaurant – don’t ask me why I was eating Italian on a Caribbean island, it was an all inclusive, I’m still too traumatised to talk about it in great detail BUT they did do a banging carpaccio which got me thinking, would the two cuisines work together in some kind of Mexican Italian fusion of love. The answer is yes. Through marinating the beef in a smokey chipotle paste and then dressing the wafer-thin slices with all the usual players, coriander, lime, queso and chipotle crema, you create something not only visually GAWgous but an absolute flavour bomb.
It is important here to get the freshest, best quality beef you can and ask your butchers for a central cut, trimmed of any sinnew. Tinned chipotles in adobo are available online.
This is a good dish to prepare in advance as the beef needs to sit in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving. You can slice it and keep it between greaseproof sheets until ready to serve.
MEXICAN STYLE BEEF CARPACCIO
250g beef fillet, centre cut, sinew removed
5 tablespoons chipotle paste
For the queso:
500ml whole milk
1 teaspoon fine salt
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
For the chipotle crema:
2 chipotles in adobo
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Squeeze of lime juice
Pinch of fine salt
Put the chipotle paste in a bowl and loosen by stirring through a swig of olive oil.
Pour the marinade over the beef fillet and massage it to make sure the surface of the beef is completely covered.
Wrap tightly in cling film and pop in the fridge, ideally overnight, or for at least six hours.
To make the queso, pour the milk into a saucepan with the salt. Bring to the boil. As soon as the milk boils, add the vinegar and reduce the heat. The mixture should split almost immediately into curds and whey (solids separating from liquid), if it doesn’t, add a little more vinegar.
Lay a jay cloth or cheesecloth over a bowl and pour the mixture over, letting it drain.
Gather up the corners of the cloth and squeeze out all of the excess moisture. I like to hang my cheese for a few hours ensuring all the moisture drains, but you can skip this step. Transfer the cheese from its cloth to a Tupperware. It will keep in the fridge for a week.
To make the chipotle crema, add all the ingredients into a nutribullet or blender and blitz till smooth.
Pass through a sieve to ensure you have a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more lime and salt if needed.
Remove your beef from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
Heat some olive oil in a pan till smoking hot. Add the beef fillet and sear all over – move the beef around quickly as you only want to sear the exterior and get some colour on it, you do not want to cook the beef.
Once browned, remove from the heat, wrap tightly in cling film once more and put into the freezer for an hour/90 minutes. This makes it easier to slice, but don’t be tempted to leave it in any longer as it will freeze solid.
Remove the beef from the freezer and with a very sharp knife slice as thinly as possible. Lay your slices of beef on a sheet of greaseproof paper, covering with another layer of greaseproof and then with a rolling pin, batter the living daylights out of it to get your paper thin beef slices.
To plate, carefully peel your beef from the greaseproof and lay onto a plate. Drizzle over the chipotle crema, crumble over some queso and top with the coriander cress and a squeeze of fresh lime.
WanderSups: Food created with love, inspired by journeys around the world, dished up on home turf.
Find out about Hannah’s upcoming Supper Clubs and what she is currently cooking via Instagram: @WanderSups and see www.wandersups.com