Aguachile de Camarón con Durazno (Shrimp and Peach Aguachile)

Recipe by Christian Irabién, Chef at Aparo, opening this fall in DC's historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Photography by Jennifer Chase.

 Shrimp and peach aguachile.

Shrimp and peach aguachile.

Serves 6

1 and 1/4 pounds 16/20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 oranges, halved
1 lime, halved
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 serrano peppers, stemmed and halved
4 serrano peppers, sliced in thin rings
1 bunch cilantro
2 seedless cucumbers, peeled and seeded (reserve) 
1 1/2 cups mint leaves, packed
2 avocados
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons dry oregano
1 yellow onion
6 garlic cloves
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 ripe peaches, sliced 1/4" thick

In a stock pot, add 4 quarts of water, 1 cup salt, bay leaves, 2 sprigs of cilantro, garlic, oregano, 2 halved serranos, 2 halved limes and oranges (squeeze juice into water and drop fruit in) and ½ cup of the mint leaves.

Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.

Prepare an ice bath for the shrimp when they come out of the hot water.

Strain and discard all solids from the stock pot, and place the liquid back into the pot and return it to a boil, reduce to simmer. Add the shrimp and cook at a low simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes until they turn red and begin to curl. Remove immediately and submerge in ice bath to cool and stop the cooking process.

In a blender add 1 and 1/4 peeled cucumbers, half of the seeds, half of the peels, 1 peach, olive oil, lime juice, zest, remaining mint leaves, half of the cilantro, one of the sliced serranos (add more if you want more spice!) and salt to taste. Blend until smooth.

Strain the liquid and discard solids. Slice the rest of the cucumber in 1/4 inch slices. Cut the avacados into small dice.

In a mixing bowl, mix the shrimp, cucumber-oil mix, red onions, remaining peaches, and avocados, season well with salt and pepper and mix evenly

Serve cold on a chilled platter. Garnish with cilantro leaves, mint leaves, and red onion slices.

***

Christian Irabien is a Mexican native who has led teams in renowned kitchens, receiving accolades for his Executive Chef role at Calavera in Oakland, Ca. and Jose Andrés’Oyamel in Washington, DC. Christian has been an integral part of the rising DC restaurant scene, collaborating with non-profits, restaurants, food banks and farms in the area as an active participant for better working conditions and wages for restaurant workers; while also strongly advocating for a better local food system. His restaurant, Amparo, will open later this fall at 3110 Mount Pleasant St NW in the historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood of D.C.

Classic Greek Hortopita

Homemade Phyllo
This phyllo dough is inspired by traditional recipes from Crete and Epirus. When we think of phyllo, we think of very thin sheets, as used in baklava. This phyllo is thicker, and though still used in layers, provides a sturdy but delicious crust for pies. It is not difficult to make, but even in Greece is somewhat of a dying art. Only a generation back, women would make phyllo every day to wrap the bounty of Mediterranean gardens, a task they learned as young girls. Nowadays, most phyllo is made in large commercial operations. Zatinya is one of the only Greek restaurants I know of in the U.S. that still makes its own phyllo dough the traditional way.

  • 6–8 sheets (for 1 large, or 2 smaller pies)
  • 4 cups (500 grams) bread flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • About 1 cup water, or more as needed
  • Cornstarch to roll the phyllo

Mix all dry ingredients, then make a well in the center and pour in olive oil, vodka and club soda. Mix and knead well (for about 8 minutes) to make a smooth and elastic dough. Let rest for 20 minutes and up to 2 hours, or refrigerate for up to 3 days, but bring to room temperature before proceeding further.

Divide into 6 parts, shape each piece into a ball, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll each piece on a floured surface to make a large, almost transparent thin sheet, and place on a clean cloth as you roll the rest of the sheets.

 

Hortopita (Greens, scallion and herb pie)
Adapted from Aglaia Kremezi’s Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts
Serves 8–10

 Simple pies made of vegetables are a staple of the Mediterranean diet, especially on the Greek islands where meat is a luxury because of cost and the lack of grazing land for animals. But sunshine is abundant, and so are vegetable gardens. This is a typical pie made of fresh greens, herbs and cheeses. It is delicious as main course on a summer day.  

  • 2 pounds mixed greens (spinach, arugula, chard, beet greens), washed, drained and finely chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil and more for the phyllo
  • 15 scallions, white and most green parts, finely chopped
  • 2 cleaned leeks, white parts and 3 inches of the green, finely sliced
  • 1 cup dill, finely chopped
  • 2 cups parsley, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • 2–3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chervil, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • 1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup grated aged cheddar
  • ½ cup currants (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Homemade phyllo or thick commercial phyllo, at room temperature
  • Bulgur flour, breadcrumbs or cornmeal as needed

Rinse the greens. Drain briefly and place in a large pot while still wet. Cook over high heat, stirring, until wilted. Let cool. Squeeze the excess liquid from the wilted greens with your hands, then coarsely chop them.

In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup of olive oil and sauté the scallions and leeks over medium heat for 6–8 minutes, or until tender. Add the wilted greens, the parsley and 3 tablespoons of the oil and sauté for 3–4 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and add the eggs, cheeses, dill and other herbs, currants, if using and pepper to taste. Taste and add salt if necessary, feta is usually quite salty. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and oil it lightly. Lay 2 sheets of phyllo, lightly oil them, then add another 2 sheets, oil them, and do the same with 2 more sheets of phyllo. Sprinkle liberally with bulgur or breadcrumbs, then carefully spread the greens mixture, pressing and spreading evenly. Lay another 6 sheets of phyllo on top, lightly oiling every second sheet. Cut excess phyllo around and fold the phyllo inwards to seal the pie, pressing with a fork so that the borders won’t be higher than the center, because they will burn. Cut a cross on the top layer to let the steam out as the pie bakes. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until well browned on top and bottom. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting to serve.

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Marinated Eggplant in Orange Blossom Water

by Maydan DC 

Betenjen Wardeit Leymoun

 Photo by Jennifer Chase

Photo by Jennifer Chase

Serves 6.

  • 2 eggplants (1inch dice)
  • 1 red onion (sliced thinly)
  • 3 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Parsley leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste

In a large sauté pan, roast the eggplant over medium high heat using ¼ cup of the olive oil until well browned. Remove from heat to a plate and reserve.

Warm the olive oil remaining in the pan and add the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, and garlic. Lightly sauté until translucent. Add the orange blossom water, honey and vinegar. Add back the eggplant, and season to taste. 

Cool the mixture. Garnish with parsley leaves.


Maydan is scheduled to open this fall at 1346-B Florida Ave. NW; maydandc.com. Compass Rose is located at 1346 T St. NW; compassrosedc.com.