In my life before living aboard Ceilydh I was a bit fanatical about eating local. Part of it was as a writer for local foodie and eco mags—it was my job. But local eating is also something I’m passionate about. Stuff simply tastes better when it’s fresh and in season.
Living in Mexico tends to be a lesson in eating local to the extreme—and not always in a positive way. The food that's available in the regular tiendas comes from here. The big mercados do have imported goods—but you pay dearly for everything from cheese, to chocolate, to crackers. About the only import that seems readily available and affordable are Washington State apples—go figure.
The problem with a local diet in a country of endless summer is there’s not much seasonality to the food. You get tomatoes, onions, cucumber, carrots, iceberg lettuce and limes everywhere. All year round. And if you come from a place where there is more diversity, lots of craft farmers growing wacky stuff, and you can get just about anything anytime—the short mango, strawberry and asparagus seasons in Mexico can seem oh so brief.
Happily it’s autumn here (well sort of, it’s as autumny as it’s going to get anyway) and this means that for a few weeks, at least, there are new things available—including spinach, swiss chard, yams, thin-skinned fall oranges, green beans and shrimp. Yup it’s shrimp season.
Guaymas is a huge shrimping port and when the boats come in, fresh prawns as big as chicken legs go for about 100 pesos a kilo (or $4.50 per lb), while the little ones are 70 pesos. It’s not cheaper than chicken—but it’s affordable enough that we’ve been indulging.
To celebrate the season I made a killer roasted broccoli and shrimp dish (you know it’s fall when you can actually use the oven again…)—and in an effort to embrace the Eating la Vida Local lifestyle I served it with a Mexican Sparkling wine. I was pleasantly surprised by my 74 peso ($6.50) Vino Blanco Chambrule from Baja California—it was crisp and slightly tart. Veuve Clicquot it's not, but it is drinkable.
Roasted Shrimp and Veggies
500 ml diced yam
1 kilo broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
15 ml mixed warms spices (cumin, coriander etc)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
hot chili sauce to taste.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss yams with tablespoons oil, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and chili powder.
2. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.
3. Add broccoli and peppers to the oil mixture, toss and add to baking pan. Roast 10 more minutes.
4. Toss shrimp in the oil (add more oil if needed. Add shrimp to baking sheet. Roast, mixing once halfway through, until shrimp are just opaque and broccoli and yams are tender and golden around edges, about 10 minutes more.
Tonight it's Shrimp Etouffee. Mmmmmm.