The architect shares her passion for Mexican food, tequila and her grandmother's volcano rock mortar.
LAST YEAR THE acclaimed Mexican architect Frida Escobedo became the youngest architect invited to create a summer Pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery in London. She has won international respect for her art works and architecture – transforming places through the imaginative use of form and materials. In April this year she launched a limited edition set of three drinking vessels, created for the Tequila brand Maestro Dobel. These are hand-carved from obsidian, a naturally occurring glass formed by the rapid cooling of volcanic lava, unearthed in the ‘ring of fire’ region of Mexico, where tequila is produced. Frida suggests that this recipe for Scallop Aguachile goes particularly well with tequila, “because of the simple flavours and the acidity of the lime.”
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 8 scallops
- thinly sliced cucumber
- fresh coriander sprouts
- thinly sliced red onion
- thinly sliced Serrano chilli
- maldon salt, or other good quality salt flakes
- freshly ground pepper
- olive oil
For the Aguachile sauce:
- ½ cup coriander leaves
- large pinch of coarse salt
- ½ small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 small Serrano chilli, seeds removed
- 1 cup lime juice
- 2 green tomatoes
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- Roast the tomatoes in a comal or skillet just so the skin starts to turn brown and the pulp remains uncooked. Let the tomatoes cool enough to handle, and then pinch off the skins. Set aside.
- In a molcajete or mortar, grind the salt and the Serrano chilli. Add the coriander leaves to form a paste. Add the onion and the peeled green tomatoes. In a bowl, mix this paste with the lemon juice.
- Thinly slice scallops and arrange on a plate or shallow bowl. Spoon Aguachile sauce over. Add cucumbers, onions, coriander sprouts and sliced chilli to garnish. Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt flakes if needed and season with freshly ground pepper
Why did you choose this recipe?
It’s springtime in Mexico City – usually our warmer months – so fresh, simple food is what I prefer to have on a hot day.
Which is your most trusted kitchen tool?
The molcajete, or volcano rock mortar, which belonged to my grandmother and then to my father. It was only very recently, when I moved to this apartment, that I had the privilege of having it passed down to me. Salsas and spices are traditionally ground in molcajetes. The porousness of the volcanic rock makes grinding easier. The vessels I designed for Maestro Dobel Tequila are made of another volcanic rock, obsidian, which shares the same territory as the agave plants, which provide tequila. Whereas in some cultures, stone is a masculine material, for me it is feminine: essential to so much food preparation, and for drinking and eating.
Please see Seetal Solanki’s recipe for Cheese & Dill Soufflé.