Although born in Mexico, La Mezcaleria’s chef Mariana Gabilondo has spent more than half her life in Canada. The flavours of the West Coast provide a constant source of inspiration as she puts her own spin on Mexican classics at La Mezcaleria on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.
“I spent most of my time on Vancouver Island,” she says. “I came to Vancouver a year ago and have fallen in love with La Mezcaleria. I love the food and the opportunity to serve it here, and the chance to use and see the best products from B.C. on our tables.”
That includes the best B.C. craft beer, namely, Four Winds Pale Ale, which features prominently in her recipe for Beer and Chili Glazed Oyster Tostada,
“I wanted something with hop and body for a fall dish,” she explains. “Most traditional Mexican beer is lighter in the summer or very dark for the late winter. But for the fall here in Vancouver, I love the ales, and they handle the strong rich flavors of Mexican sauces beautifully.”
Beer and Chili Glazed Oyster Tostada by Chef Mariana Gabilondo, La Mezcaleria
- 2 bottles of Four Winds Pale Ale
- 500mL of shucked oysters
- 1 cup of agave syrup (or honey)
- 1 whole ancho chili, seeded and sliced thin
- 1 whole pasilla chili, seeded and sliced thin
- 1 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 red onion, sliced thin
- 1 lime
- ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 12 six-inch corn tortillas, preferably yellow corn (or better yet, a package of readymade tostadas!)
- 1 avocado
- 2 handfuls of your favorite mixed greens or shredded lettuce
- Salt and pepper to taste
To make the chilli honey glaze:
Pour the beer into a small saucepan and gently bring to a boil. Simmer to get a nice dark hoppy liquid, until liquid has reduced by half. Add the agave, garlic and the ancho and pasila chilies. Add a pinch of pepper and a half teaspoon of salt. Cover and simmer for a few minutes to soften the chilies. Carefully pour into a blender (be careful, as the liquid is warm) and blend until the glaze is smooth. Store glaze in the fridge.
To make the oysters:
Heat a little oil in a large pan. Fry the oysters at medium to high temperature. When golden on one side, turn them over and add the sliced red onion. Allow the onion and oysters to fry together for a few minutes until the oysters are fully cooked. Deglaze the pan with the chili honey glaze (use as little or as much as you like), and adjust salt to taste. Turn off the heat and add a squeeze of lime over the oysters for a nice tangy flavor. Toss everything with cilantro.
Place a layer of greens and some avocado slices on a tostada or tortilla, and spoon some oysters and onions on top. Garnish with thinly sliced Serrano peppers and maybe a pinch of rock salt. Serve immediately with your favorite salsa.