Last-Minute Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

Fabian Quiros, executive chef of Salt Creek Grille in Princeton, offered up these last-minute recipes to spice up your menu for Cinco de Mayo—or any night! In this post, you’ll find recipes for the following: Blackened Scallops with Mango & Papaya Salsa, Grilled Rib-Eye with Red Pepper Salsa, Filet Mignon Empanadas with Poblano Pepper and Tomatillo Salsa, and Cinco de Mayo Sangria. Enjoy!

Blackened Scallops with Mango & Papaya Salsa

5 fresh U/10 day boat dry scallops
1 ounce blackening seasoning
2 ripe mangoes, diced
1 ripe papaya, diced
½ red onion diced
1 pinch paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1. Combine mangoes, papaya, onion, paprika, olive oil and red wine vinegar, and let marinate for 3 hours.
2. Place cast iron skillet on stove top for 20 minutes before starting preparations.
3. Season scallops with blackening spice both sides.
4. Place scallops in pan for 3 minutes for each side.
5. Top with salsa and enjoy!

Grilled Rib-Eye with Red Pepper Salsa

For salsa:
6 red bell peppers
1 or 2 jalapenos
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For steak:
4 (1 1/2-inch-thick) bone-in rib-eye steaks (7 pounds)
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

 1. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderately high heat for gas).
2. Oil grill rack, then grill bell peppers, covered only if using a gas grill, turning occasionally, until slightly softened and charred, 15 to 20 minutes.
*Chef’s note: Instead of grilling the peppers, you can broil them on rack of a broiler pan about 2 inches from heat, turning occasionally with tongs, until skins are blackened, 20 to 30 minutes, then proceed with recipe.
3. Transfer bell peppers to a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, then let stand 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel peppers, discarding stems and seeds, and cut lengthwise into thin strips. Toss with remaining salsa ingredients.
*Chef’s note: The salsa can be made 1 day ahead, without parsley, and chilled, covered. Stir in parsley just before serving.

1. Prepare grill for indirect-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderately high heat for gas).
*Chef’s note: If you’re using a charcoal grill for the peppers first and then the steaks, the coals will need to be replenished and rearranged before you grill the steaks.
2. Pat steaks dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Oil grill rack, then sear steaks directly over coals, uncovered, turning over once and moving to area of grill with no coals underneath if flare-ups occur, until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes total. Move steaks to area with no coals underneath and grill, covered, until thermometer inserted into center of meat (do not touch bone) registers 120°F for medium-rare, 8 to 12 minutes more.
3. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes.
*Chef’s note: For indoor cooks, steaks can be grilled in a hot, lightly oiled, well-seasoned large (2-burner) ridged grill pan, uncovered, turning over once, about 10 minutes total. Reduce heat to moderately low and cook steaks, covered with an inverted roasting pan, turning over occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes more for medium-rare.

 Filet Mignon Empanadas with Poblano Pepper and Tomatillo Salsa

16 oz. filet mignon (julienne raw)
½ pound fresh tomatillos
2 large poblano peppers
1 garlic clove minced
1 ounce fresh cilantro

1. In a sauté pan, caramelize filet mignon slices until slightly brown seasoning with salt and pepper during cooking add minced garlic set aside.
2. Place poblano pepper over fire and roast until charred placing in bowl and covering with plastic wrap.
3. Quarter tomatillos and sauté with garlic until mushy with a touch of beef stock. Mash tomatillos. Peel charred skin from peppers small dice and add to tomatillo sauce.

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Assemble using empanadas and refrigerate. Fry in deep pan until golden brown. Top with salsa.

Cinco de Mayo Sangria

½ cup fresh raspberries
½ cup blackberries
½ cup strawberries
1 orange thinly sliced
3 cup fresh or frozen lemonade
8 oz. patron silver
One splash grenadine
2 bottles Prosecco, chilled (Zardetto)

Mix all ingredients except Prosecco for twelve hours to meld the flavors and add Prosecco before serving over ice.