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Summery Mexican recipes for the holiday weekend

Poc Chuc recipe from Mi Cocina.
(Ren Fuller)

There have been a slew of post-pandemic cookbooks that have published in the last couple months, but the one that has excited me most is “Mi Cocina” by my friend Rick Martínez. Rick spent the majority of the pandemic in his home in Mazatlán writing this book, after spending several months traversing Mexico for its best home cooking dishes. This type of Mexican food is my favorite to dive deep into; the simple, highly flavorful home cooking that you often don’t see in restaurants.

One of the dishes Martínez highlights is a dish called Poc Chuc, a Yucatecan dish that marinates thinly sliced pork shoulder in orange and lime juices before grilling it quickly and serving with grilled onions, radishes and avocados. It put me in a mood for summer grilling immediately, pulled by in its bright marinade and simple preparation.

To keep that mood going, I’ll be tapping into other simple Mexican-inspired dishes that are ideal for breezy, outdoor entertaining all summer long.

Jonathan Melendez’s Grilled Steak with Chunky Guacamole Salad uses store-bought taco seasoning to flavor a steak that gets served with a simple salad made of guacamole’s traditional components.

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Paola Briseño González’s Shrimp, Mushrooms and Zucchini with Poblano Labneh Sauce and Corn Salad is a fantastic dish that rewards you for having her simple poblano labneh sauce on hand in the fridge — simply mix up the corn salad while some veggies and shrimp cook (or use veggies only) and you’ve got a great meal with that sauce drizzled over everything.

Elotes is a classic corn treatment, slathering boiled or grilled corn with mayo, cotija and chile for a great side dish or afternoon snack. And to go with everything, Esteban Castillo’s traditional Salsa de Molcajete is the ideal accompaniment to keep in your fridge all summer long. Spoon it on literally anything you eat to instantly brighten it and transport yourself to Mexico in your mind.

Poc Chuc (Orange and Lime-Marinated Grilled Pork)

This is a signature dish of the Yucatán with Mayan origins. The pork is sliced very thinly so it can absorb the fresh orange and lime marinade quickly and thoroughly — this also allows for a quick cook time on a hot grill. Save yourself two hours and some hassle by asking your butcher to thinly slice your pork shoulder.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 45 minutes, plus 2 1/2 hours resting

Poc Chuc recipe from Mi Cocina.
(Ren Fuller)

Grilled Steak With Chunky Guacamole Salad

Using a packet of taco seasoning is a great way to get more bang for your buck at the grocery store. It already has a bunch of different spices and herbs mixed up for you, so you don’t have to buy them separately.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour.

Grilled steak with guacamole salad by Jonathan Melendez.
(Jonathan Melendez / For the Times)

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Shrimp, Mushrooms and Zucchini With Poblano Labneh Sauce and Corn Salad

Fire-blistered poblano chiles flavor the creamy sauce for simple poached shrimp and seared vegetables. The corn — boiled first to plump its kernels — is mixed with mint and lime juice to add an acidic crunch to the dish.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, Aug. 25, 2021: Crispy Oyster Mushrooms and Zucchini
(Silvia Razgova/For The Times)

Classic Elotes

Grilled Mexican corn, or elotes, is comforting Mexican food everyone loves. Have the toppings prepared before you cook the corn so they’re ready to slather on the ears once they’re hot from the grill or pot.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

Salsa de Molcajete

Ground in a molcajete, a traditional Mexican mortar and pestle made from volcanic rock, this chunky and smoky salsa made from roasted tomatoes, toasted chiles de árbol and fresh onion and cilantro is perfect on fried eggs, chilaquiles, a bowl of frijolitos, tacos or a quesadilla. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, this can easily be made in a food processor.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes.

Salsa de molcajete
(Esteban Castillo)

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