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April 25: Lunchbreak -- Tostadas de Cangrejo

108 W. Kinzie
(312) 329-9555

Tostadas de Cangrejo
Makes 4 3-inch tostadas

4 3-inch tostadas
4 oz. jumbo lumb crab meat
4 Tbs pico de gallo
2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs chipotle puree
1/2 tsp chile serrano, finely chopped
1/2 tsp honey
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 oz. chayote, julienne
1 oz. jicama, julienne
4 Tbs chipotle-hollandaise sauce (recipe below)
4 Tbs avocado puree

Directions:In a non-reactive bowl, add crab meat, pico de gallo, olive oil, chipotle puree, serrano and lemon juice. Mix well, taste and adjust with salt and honey. In a separate bowl, mix chayote and jicama, add a little lemon, salt and honey. Plate tostadas, add avocado puree at the bottom, top with the crab meat mix and then add the chayote-jicama salad.

Chipotle-Hollandaise Sauce

1/4 cup egg yolks
3 oz. clarified butter
2 Tbs chipotle puree
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs white vinegar
salt to taste
honey to taste

In a blender, add egg yolks, when running add the butter slowly. Add lemon juice, vinegar and chipotle puree. Adjust flavor with salt and honey.

Picadillo Chile Relleno
Stuffed poblano, ground pork, raisins, almonds, sweet plantain puree, roasted tomato salsa

2 plum tomatoes
2 serrano chiles
3 garlic cloves
6 ounces ground pork
1/2 onion, diced
1 chile poblano
2 plantain, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons raisins
3 Tablespoons almonds, toasted
salt, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
cilantro to garnish

Place tomatoes and serrano chiles on a grill and grill until charred; add to a blender with 1 garlic clove and blend until smooth. Saute 2 garlic cloves and diced onion in a skillet until browned; add pork and cook until no longer pink. Add tomato/chile sauce to pork mixture and heat through. Meanwhile, place poblano chile on a grill and grill until skin in blackened; remove black skin and remove seeds. Saute 1/2 the plantain in a skillet and add the pork mixture. Mix in raisins and almonds then add salt to taste. Spoon the pork mixture into the chile. Put chile in a 350 degree F oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Meanwhile, blend remaining plantain with heavy cream. Spoon plantain sauce on the bottom of a plate and top with chile. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Tips on making the dish:

Invest in quality crab meat. We buy our crab meat from Supreme Lobster and it does make a difference to use quality crab meat.

Keep it fresh with the garnish. Since both the jicama and chayote (two ingredients used frequently in Mexican cooking) have high water contents, they add that great added crunch and refreshing taste to the dish.

Spice up hollandaise. While many think of hollandaise as a element of eggs benedict with a few simple ingredients you can spice up the egg and melted butter for a superior sauce for the dish.

It's important not to over-roast the poblano peppers so that they keep their shape and can be stuffed with your ingredients.

To make the peppers easier to peel, place the charred pepper into a ziplock bag and let them steep in the steam so that they are easy to peel.

About Chef Sandoval
Born on June 16, 1974 in Acapulco, Mexico, Sandoval grew up in the kitchen of his father Manuel Sandoval's world class restaurant Madeiras. After moving to California to attend high school, Sandoval moved to New York City and began working with his older brother Richard, who also followed in the family's culinary footsteps with his own restaurant, Maya. It was while working alongside his brother that Sandoval discovered his passion for cooking.

Although his brother was aware of this potential, Sandoval started on the "ground floor" of the restaurant, eventually working his way from an apprentice in 1998 to sous chef. After returning to California to help his brother open Maya in San Francisco in 1999 and working as sous chef at the highly acclaimed Hawthorne Lane in 2000, Sandoval decided that it was time to train seriously as a chef. Returning to New York City, Sandoval enrolled in the French Culinary Institute and further refined his skills while working with Chef Peter Hoffman at the legendary Savoy and alongside celebrity Chef Terrance Brennan of Picholine. Upon graduating from the French Culinary Institute, Sandoval was tapped by his brother Richard to act as a consulting chef for his latest restaurant Pampano. It was during this time that Sandoval began to consider opening his own restaurant.

Sandoval's inspiration for Mercadito drew from his experiences shopping with his mother in the markets of his native Mexico. He instinctively gravitated towards the small market stalls where local merchants sold native delicacies that fueled a day of bargaining. Never forgetting these delectable yet uncomplicated dishes, Sandoval strived to capture the flavor and energy of this cuisine with his first culinary offering.

Events coming up:

Cinco de Mayo Cooking Demonstration on Monday, April 25 at 6 pm:

Chef Patricio Sandoval shares the spotlight for this month's Cinco de Mayo Cooking Demonstration with special guest chef Michael Fiorello on Monday, April 25 from 6 to 9 pm at Double A, located beneath Mercadito (108 W. Kinzie St). Cost is $55 per guest, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 312.329.9555.

In addition to experiencing a five-course meal with paired cocktails, guests will be given an insider's preview tasting and demonstration of Chef Fiorello's Pavo Ahumando en Chili Verde taco, available beginning Sunday, May 1 through Tuesday, May 31 for dinner (four per order) for $16 or for lunch (three per order) for $12 as part of the Mercadito's Tacos for Strength campaign.

Cinco de Mayo: Cinco de Mayo party-seekers can turn to Mercadito (108 W. Kinzie St.) on Thursday, May 5 for live music, deejay performances, a delicious shareable Cinco de Mayo menu ($40 per person) and plenty of tequila and cervezas for all. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling 312.329.9555.

Mercadito's family-style menu offers an array of guacamoles, salsas, tacos, sides and dessert to share at the table for $40 per person. From spicing up typical guacamole with the toreado (sautéed chile Serrano, garlic, oregano and tomatillo pico de gallo) to the famous estilo baja tacos (beer battered mahi mahi, Mexican style coleslaw and chipotle aioli) guests can pick and choose their favorites from the Cinco de Mayo menu.

Mercadito is also "punching" up one of their most popular cocktails on their menu, the Missionary [Repo]siton, created by Tippling Bros. For Cinco de Mayo, guests can share amongst friends a bottle of Missionary [Repo]siton Tequila Punch made with reposado tequila, red wine-pear syrup, falernum, fresh lime juice and garnished with fresh citrus ($12 per person).

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