Tortitas de Camarón Seco con Papa
Tortitas de Carmarón is a popular lenten dish featured in Mexican restaurants during the 40 days prior to Easter Sunday. These fritter-cakes are made by folding ground shrimp in an egg meringue batter then frying small portions. They are served in a tomato red chile sauce and accompanied with nopales . I grew up during the time the Catholic Church obligated us to abstain from eating meat on Fridays, except for fish. Today the obligation of meatless Fridays is limited to the 40 days of lent. Mom made these and I still remember having them at the dinner table.
My adaptation of Tortitas de Carmarón is made with potato and served with a tomatillo sauce. Lets get started.
1 lb potatoes peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup finely minced scallions (about 2 scallions)
2 oz ground dry shrimp (3 oz whole, heads removed)
Salt and pepper
½ cup vegetable oil
Tomatillo Salsa Ingredients
Makes about 2 cups
1 lb fresh tomatillos
8 oz fresh tomato
⅓ cup white onion roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 chile güero (yellow) peppers, halved lenghtwise, stem and seeds removed (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (optional)
6 sprigs cilantro
⅓ teaspoon cumin
⅓ teaspoon ground oregano
Add tomatillos and tomatoes into 6 cups of boiling water and boil them for 2 to 6 minutes until the tomato skins have parted or come loose. Remove the ingredients and when cool enough to handle, remove the skins. In a blender, liquify the tomatillo, tomatoes, onion, cilantro and garlic then pour through a sieve into a bowl. Add the citrus juice, cumin and oregano. Add the sauce and the chile güero into a sauce pan and simmer for about 15 minutes. The chile pepper flavors the sauce with a touch of heat. Discard chile güero after simmering.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but firm, about 15 minutes, drain. Using a potato masher or electric beater blend until nearly smooth. Shrimp may be salty; at this point only season with pepper.
Remove heads from the dry shrimp and discard them. Using a spice or coffee grinder powder the shrimp.
In a fry pan, heat the oil to 350° F. Add to the potato the scallions, flour, ground shrimp and mix all ingredients. Taste for salt. Form 3 inch diameter patties and fry each side to a golden color, about 3 minutes each side. Drain the patties on paper towels. Serve over a base of sauce. Optionally, serve with nopales, green beans or peas.
Dried shrimp is sold whole or ground and tends to be salty and usually located in Mexican and Asian grocery stores. For some people, this shrimp can seem strong or “fishy”; for this reason I use potato as a base.
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