Sauces: The Soul of the Fiesta

At 'The Taste of Mexico' in LA, simply prepared dishes become fit for a fiesta with all kinds of well seasoned sauces.

By FAYE LEVY, YAKIR LEVY
December 8, 2013 10:57
At the festival, a striking display of tacos coated with three different sauces caught the attention

Tacos 3 sauces. (photo credit: Yakir Levy)

 
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At 'The Taste of Mexico,' a celebration of Mexican cuisine held recently in Los Angeles, we tasted dishes from some of the city’s top Mexican restaurants. As we strolled from one booth to another and sampled the chefs’ specialties, it was clear that what made the dishes so distinctive and delicious was the sauces. Many of them were enriched with ground nuts–walnuts, cashews, almonds or peanuts.

With well seasoned sauces, simply prepared dishes became fit for a fiesta. We tasted several kinds of ceviche, which is made of raw fish marinated in lime juice to “cook” it, seasoned with salt and mixed with chopped fresh chiles (hot peppers) and often with chopped tomato and onion. The halibut ceviche served by El Coraloense was especially enticing. It came with two sauces–lemon aioli (garlicky mayonnaise) and peanut-walnut sauce. Marie Curie, the owner of the restaurant, told us that she prepared the nut sauce by frying garlic, peanuts and walnuts in olive oil, adding small potent chiles and blending the mixture to a smooth sauce. For contrasting texture and easy serving, the ceviche was served on a crisp tostada, a fried corn tortilla sometimes used as a base for salads.

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