Dried Shrimp Cakes with Cactus Salsa

See the RecipeGuy Kloppenburg

This dish is a sampling of the cuisine you would find, at an open-air restaurant, in the heart of Mexico.

Dried Shrimp Cakes with Cactus Salsa
This dish is a sampling of the cuisine you would find, at an open-air restaurant, in the heart of Mexico.
Yield: serves 6

Ingredients

  • 5 pasilla or mirasol chiles
  • 2 medium tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp. dried pumpkin seeds
  • 12 tsp. ground cumin
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 8 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 2 12 cups dried shrimp
  • 23 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 23 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 10 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 10 egg whites
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. masa harina
  • 1 cup canned nopalitos
  • 1 small piece ginger (about 2'' x 1/2''), peeled and finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Place a small skillet over medium heat. Halve chiles, flatten on hot skillet, and toast, turning once, 10-15 seconds in all. Place chiles in a small bowl and add 1 cup hot water. Cover and set aside until soft and pliable, about 30 minutes. In same skillet, cook tomatoes over medium-high heat until soft but firm, about 2 minutes per side, then remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Drain chiles; remove stems and seeds. Combine chiles, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, cumin, cloves, ginger, garlic, and cilantro in a blender and process until smooth. Combine mixture with 4 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain sauce and set aside.
  3. Process shrimp and bread crumbs in a blender until a fine paste is formed. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in parmigiano-reggiano and egg yolks. In another bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold shrimp mixture into egg whites.
  4. Scoop out 14 cup shrimp mixture and press gently between your palms to form a 2 12'' cake. Repeat with remaining shrimp mixture (yields 12 cakes).
  5. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry shrimp cakes in batches until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer cakes to a platter as they're done.
  6. Pour 14 cup sauce into a bowl and whisk in masa harina until dissolved. Combine mixture and remaining sauce in shrimp skillet and simmer over medium-low heat. Add shrimp cakes and nopalitos. Cook for 25 minutes, periodically spooning sauce over cakes to moisten, and serve.