Friday, October 16, 2009

Picture Pages: Carne en Limón

A little something for la cruda or a delicious appetizer? Raw beef in place of fish in a ceviche-type preparation is featured in several regional Mexican cuisines. My wife first clued me into this concept; her father used to eat ground beef this way. Diana Kennedy lists Carne en Limón as a standard botana in the bars of Southeast Mexico, specifically Chiapas.

I've tried to make this dish with various cuts of beef and trying different pickling times. (Thanks Jason Sheehan of Westword for drawing our attention to the fact that ceviche is pickled in the citrus, not cooked.) Last week, on a cold night, we stopped at the store to pick up a little piece of meat to slice into a hot broth with noodles. A small piece of tenderloin in the case caught our eye (at $25 per pound, it had to be small!). After slicing it thin and dropping it raw into a boiling bowl of broth; I thought, let's give this a try in the lime juice!

Here's blow-by-blow (this recipe is a piece-of-cake):

1) Slice the tenderloin very thin. The pieces are about the size of a 50 cent piece; remember those? I used about 1/4 lb.

2) Add lime juice; I used the juice of 1 and 1/2 limes.

3) Cover with plastic and let sit for about 45 minutes. Diana Kennedy's recipe calls for 4 hours; but not with this cut. Honestly, this tenderloin is so buttery, you can eat it raw! The trick here is just to let the juice get into the meat without overdoing it.

4) Meanwhile, chop-up a pico de gallo: Tomato, White Onion, Cilantro, and Jalapeno.

5) Mix the pico into the carne and let it sit together about 20 minutes to combine the flavors.

6) That's it! Hit it with a little salt and pepper just before you plate. Serve it on tostadas and have a hot sauce like Valentina or Cholula on the table.

This goes great with beer! If, however, you are having it after you've had too much beer, then I'd say, use the cheapest cut of beef and the longest time in the lime.


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