Mod Mex and Mod Mix
For tickets and details:
Saturday, September 27
Red Chile-Tuna Tartar
1 pound sashimi-quality fresh tuna fillet (best if it is 1-inch-thick pieces)
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
6 (about 1 1/2 ounces) dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), plus leaves for garnishing
1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Wrap the tuna in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for an hour or so to firm for easier cutting. Place a large skillet over medium heat and scatter the garlic on one side. When the pan is hot, toast the chiles one by one: use a metal spatula to press the pieces flat against the hot surface until they blister and release their aroma, about 10 seconds per side. (When properly toasted, the inside of each chile piece will have lightened in color, but not developed any dark spots.) Transfer to a bowl, cover with hot tap water and weight with a plate to keep submerged. Meanwhile, turn the garlic occasionally until it is completely softened (it will blacken in spots)—it will take 10 to 15 minutes. Cool until handleable, then peel. When the chiles have soaked 30 minutes, drain and place in a blender jar with the garlic and lime juice. Blend to a smooth puree, adding a little water if necessary to keep everything moving through the blades. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl. Season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. With a sharp knife, cut the tuna into small dice—I like 1/4-inch cubes—and scoop into a bowl. When you’re ready to serve, scoop the onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, shake off the excess and add to the tuna. Mix in the red-chile seasoning and chopped cilantro. Serve—whether on a crispy base like a chip, molded on a plate or in a small bowl or glass—decorated with cilantro leaves.
The red-chile seasoning can be made a day or two ahead, covered and refrigerated. Early in the day you’re serving, the tuna can be diced, tightly covered and refrigerated. Combine tuna, seasoning, cilantro and freshly chopped onion just before serving.
Ancho Mezcal Margarita
1 3/4 oz Illegal Joven mezcal
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz ancho chile simple syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
6 dried ancho chiles
Toast chiles whole in a 325 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Cut chiles end to end and loosely remove stem and seeds. Combine sugar and water in a sauce pan and heat to a simmer. Add chiles and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Strain to remove solids.