Friday, April 27, 2012

50 Women Game Changers in Food - # 45 Diana Kennedy - Camarones en Pipian

Diana Kennedy in her kitchen.

Camarones en Pipian

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Diana Kennedy is often called the Julia Child of Mexico. That can't be argued, nor should it be. She has explored the food of Mexico as thoroughly as Julia did that of France, but there is an added dimension to her work that can't be overlooked. While she is a writer of the highest order, her commitment to saving the native recipes of Mexico also places her in the ranks of food anthropologists. Now 87, she occupies a seven acre jungle retreat in Michoacan, Mexico, that can be found only by those willing to travel rough dirt roads through dense jungle bush. British by birth, she moved to Mexico in 1957 when her husband, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, was assigned to the region.  For the next decade, she informally studied Mexican cuisine, recording its recipes and the ingredients that made it so unique. She carried that knowledge with her when she returned to New York City following the death of her husband. Like a handful of other women who made the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game Changers in Food, she fell under the protective but prodding wing of Craig Claiborne, who convinced her to teach and write about the unique cuisine she had mastered. She has done an incredible amount of writing since then and information about all seventeen of her books, can be found on the Good Reads or the Eat Your Books  websites.  Since  the 1972 publication of her first  book, The Cuisines of Mexico,  she has been recognized as a leading authority on authentic Mexican food. She has been teaching and writing and traveling ever since. Mexico considers her to be one of its greatest food heroes and has awarded her its highest honor, the order of the Aztec Eagle. Her mission has been like that of Elizabeth David, but she has not received the recognition or laurels that came David's way. True Mexican food has not captured the public imagination and that has left Kennedy like a prophet without honor in her own land. Still, she carries on.  Jason Beaubien did a wonderful interview with her for NPR that you might like to read when you have some extra time. You can find it here. Gourmet Live also has a wonderful feature that fans of Diana Kennedy will enjoy.  It can be found here.

From the thousands of recipes she has collected,  I wanted to feature one that used  ingredients that could be found in any large local supermarket.  I chose her recipe for Camarones en Pipian, which she adapted  from a meal she had at Restaurante Las Diligencias in Tampico. It is fast, easy and delicious, though I personally felt it was a bit heavy on the serrano chiles. The roasted and pulverized pumpkin seeds add wonderful depth of flavor to the sauce and make the dish truly unique. I think those of you who try this will be really pleased. Here's the recipe. 

Camarones en Pipian
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Diana Kennedy

1-1/2 pounds shrimp, unshelled
2-1/2 cups cold water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hulled, raw pumpkin seeds
1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
4 fresh serrano chiles, roughly chopped-with seeds
1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon  unsalted butter
2/3 cup Mexican crema (or creme fraiche)

1) Shell and devein shrimp, reserving shells, tails and any heads to make broth. Place shells in salted water and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Strain out shells and cook shrimp in broth until barely opaque. Drain shrimp, reserving broth.
2) In a heavy, un-greased skillet, toast pumpkin seeds over low heat, stirring often, until they just begin to swell. Do not brown. Allow to cool a bit then grind them in a food processor or blender, until fine. Add broth, cilantro, chiles and onion, and blend until smooth. There will still be texture.
3) Melt butter in a heavy saucepan, over low heat. Add pumpkin seed sauce and stir constantly for about 3 minutes. Stir in crema and heat through. Taste and add extra salt, if desired. Add shrimp and continue heating for about 5 minutes. Serve with warm, crusty bread for dipping, or with hot tortillas.

The following bloggers are also featuring the recipes of Diana Kennedy today. I hope you'll pay them all a visit. They are great cooks who have wonderful blogs.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef, Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary - One Perfect Bite, Sue - The View from Great Island, Barbara - Movable Feasts
Linda A - There and Back Again, Nancy - Picadillo, Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen, Annie - Most Lovely Things, Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce - More Time at the Table
Kathy - Bakeaway with Me, Martha - Simple Nourished Living, Jill - Saucy Cooks
Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink

Next week we will highlight the career and recipes of Gael Greene. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information no later than Monday, April 30th.


Ginny Hartzler said...

What a strange and interesting dish. I wonder why she lives in such a remote and hard to get to place at her age?

katy180 said...

Hi Mary, could you tell me how you got your pinterest pin for sharing onto the blog. Ive only just gotte onto pinterest and i can't figure out how to get it onto my blog. Love the posts!

Coleens Recipes said...

You are an adventurous cook!! Great photo!!

Diane said...

This sounds the sort of dish we would love especially with some French crusty bread. Yum yum. Have a good weekend Diane

Kim said...

These mexican shrimps really looks good. The cilantroo and cream, yummy!

Big Dude said...

I've sure enjoyed and learned a lot from the this series. The dish sounds very good and thanks for picking one with obtainable items in it.

Kathy said...

Mary, Very interesting post and quite an unusual recipe!
I found Diana to be quite a charactor…feisty and still full of life at 89! Have a great day!

Tanna said...

Another most interesting lady!! I have really enjoyed learning about these influential women in this series, Mary. This recipe sounds delicious. :)

Thank you for your prayers. blessings ~ tanna

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I picked up some Crema when I was in the States over the weekend. Diana led a fascinating life and I would follow her anywhere she leads.

Unknown said...

I love the color of this! And yes, I'm sure the 4 serranos gave it a pretty good kick!!

Heather S-G said...

Mmmm...I wish I could eat this for lunch! I am so happy that Diana made the list - so very deserving.

Claudia said...

Now I know what to do with my shrimp bounty. This is indeed delicious but I will take heed about the chilies.

Alyce said...

Beautiful dish, Mary! Happy Friday!

Suzie said...

That's really interesting how she came to love and learn mexican cuisine. The soup sounds awesome, I do like it spicy!

Jill~a SaucyCook said...

Oh Mary, you have made my day with this post! I am going to make this recipe whether The Brit likes shrimp or not!! Perhaps if I just tell him that they are camarones I will be ok!!!
I am so intrigued by Diana Kennedy and I find myself wanting to study her far more than I did for this endeavor. The links in this post are a great start.
Thanks and have a great weekend!

Ana Regalado said...

Very interesting and creative dish ! This is one of the dish that I wouldn't mind eating everyday ! Shrimp , cream and cilantro ?! 'nuff said ! ;D Yummy pic , too !

Anonymous said...

So interesting - great picture of her! Delicious dish :)
Mary x

Barbara said...

Interesting recipe, Mary. Sounds like you were pleased with it...I'd cut down on those chiles too.
She was an interesting game changer. I didn't know very much about her and have enjoyed the research.

Angie's Recipes said...

Looks really tasty to me. I would certainly love some bread with this.

Unknown said...

So interesting to learn about Diana - your recipe choice looks amazing and so unique. I had a dear friend from Mexico City years ago and she too was an incredible cook and taught me so many wonderful things!

Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said...

Oh Mary,
What a beautiful presentation. It looks so inviting and appetizing. Your husband is such a lucky man, and you can tell him I said so.

Pam said...

Mary, thanks for this great post! I'm glad to see Diana here, she's definitely another Julia! The dish looks and sounds absolutely delicious! Have a good weekend!

Banana Wonder said...

MMMmm What a deliciously green dish!

Miranda | Mangoes and Chutney said...

That is the most rustic kitchen I have ever seen! Love the recipe - anything with shrimp, serranos and cilantro gets my vote!

Bubbe Bites said...

I love shrimp. You picked a great recipe to showcase this time. Thanks for sharing with us.

BeetleBuggy said...

Oh yum! Love the green color of this dish. I'm looking at everyone's dish from Diana and want to make them all because they're so simple with ingredients but so tasty when it's finally ready. Love how you went with something that's easily available in our markets because I know how tough finding a lot of the chiles she uses are.

Martha@ Simple Nourished Living said...

What an informative read and delicious looking dish. I've bookmarked this one to try. Love that you chose a recipe that can easily be done with supermarket ingredients. I've enjoyed learning more about Diana too.

Taryn said...

I love shrimp and I love Diana's commitment to true Mexican flavors - thanks for sharing this.

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