(CL) - The fifth of May isn't just the fifth day of the fifth month of the year. It's also Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Contrary to popular belief, it's not a celebration of Mexico's Independence Day, which is September 16.
Originally, Cinco de Mayo was a regional holiday that was celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla. Its celebration has now become increasingly popular along the U.S.-Mexico border and other parts of the U.S. that have a high population of people with a Mexican heritage. In these areas, the holiday revolves around celebrating Mexican culture with food, beverages, music and customs unique to Mexico.
Want to participate in the celebration? Try this Mexican recipe, "Margarita Scallops," courtesy of "Chevys & Rio Bravo Fresh Mex Cookbook" (10 Speed Press). It is easy to prepare and is guaranteed to turn up the heat on your Cinco de Mayo festivities.
1/4 cup tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup green onion cut into
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound large sea scallops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lime, quartered
3 teaspoons minced cilantro
To make the scallops, place all the ingredients, except the scallops and olive oil, in a blender or food processor, and puree. Taste the mixture and add more jalapeno as desired. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and set aside.
Rinse the scallops in cold water, and pat dry. In a nonstick sauté pan over high heat, heat the olive oil just until smoking. Add the scallops to the sauté pan and sear well without stirring or tossing. Add the citrus mixture to the pan, and bring to a boil. When the liquid reaches a boil, turn the scallops and cook for one minute more. Remove the scallops, cover to keep warm, and reduce the sauce to half of its original volume over high heat.
To serve, divide the scallops among the plates. Pour the liquid from the pan directly over the plates. Garnish with the lime wedges and cilantro.