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Pati's Mexican Table - El Fuerte, Magic Town (806)

Lobster Chilaquiles

Makes 4 servings  


For the salsa:

  • 2 to 3 dried morita or chipotle chiles
  • 1 1/2 pounds about 6 ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds about 12 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1/2 white onion, cut into large pieces
  • 2 to 3 fresh jalapeños, stemmed
  • 3 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the tortilla chips:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 corn tortillas, cut into triangles
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

For the lobsters:

  • 4 1- and-a-quarter to 1-and-a-half pound live lobsters, or you can substitute thawed lobster tails

For the toppings:

  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Mexican crema, to taste

TO PREPARE To make the salsa:

  • Place the morita chiles in a small bowl, cover with hot water, and let them sit and soften for at least 10 minutes.

  • Place the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion chunks, jalapeños, and unpeeled garlic cloves on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Place under the broiler and roast 12 to 15 minutes, flipping a couple times in between, until the skin of tomatoes and tomatillos has completely blistered and charred, they seem very mushy, and their juices have started to come out. The garlic cloves and chiles must also have blackened and charred. Remove from the broiler and let cool.

  • When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves and place in a blender along with the jalapeños, tomatoes, tomatillos, and onion. Take the morita chiles out of the soaking water, remove their stems and seeds, and add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Add salt and puree until completely smooth. If you want, you can add the chiles one at a time and taste for heat.

  • In a medium saucepan, heat one tablespoon oil over medium heat. Once hot, pour in the salsa and quickly cover partially with a lid, as it will splatter all over the place. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring a couple times in between.

To make the tortilla chips:

  • Place rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 375°F.

  • Brush a baking sheet with a couple tablespoons oil. Spread the tortilla pieces all over and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste. Bake the tortilla chips for 25 to 30 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, flipping in between. Remove from the oven when ready.

To cook the lobsters:

  • Place lobsters on a baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes before cooking.

  • When ready to cook, place a lobster in the center of a chopping board with the head towards you (you can put some paper towels or a thin kitchen towel under so it will be steady and will soak up any juices that come out). Hold the lobster tightly in place by the tail and place the tip of a very sharp knife where the head separates from the body, with the sharp edge of the knife facing the head. With much determination jab the tip of the knife in and pull the blade down straight between the eyes and onto the chopping board. Repeat with the other 3 lobsters.

  • Then, flip the lobsters over and cut the tail right down the middle. Clean the inner parts with a spoon.

  • Preheat an outdoor or indoor grill, or grill pan, on medium-high heat. Generously brush the lobsters with the prepared salsa. Place cut side down flat on the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Flip to the other side, and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  • Leave 4 halves of the lobsters intact, just as they came off the grill. Remove the meat from the remaining 4 halves, both from the tail and the claws and coarsely chop.

To make the queso topping:

  • In a small bowl, combine the crumbled queso, white onion, and cilantro.

To assemble:

  • Pour the salsa into a large bowl, add the tortilla chips and chopped lobster meat and toss. Divide the chilaquiles among 4 plates and place one of the intact lobster halves on each. Top with the queso topping and Mexican crema to taste.

Lobster Rolls with Chipotle Mayo, Pickled Jalapeños and Serrano Cocktail Sauce

Makes 8 lobster rolls


  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 4 1-and-a-quarter to 1-and-a-half pound live lobsters, or substitute for thawed lobster tails
  • 2 sticks of celery, cleaned and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 1/2 cup Homemade Chipotle Mayonnaise
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Unsalted butter
  • 8 brioche buns or hot dog rolls
  • Salted potato chips
  • Serrano Cocktail Sauce


  • Fill a large stock pot three-quarters of the way full with water, counting how many quarts of water you pour. Add 1 tablespoon salt per quart of water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.

  • Place the lobsters in the water, head first, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, at a medium simmer, until the lobsters shells have turned completely red. Carefully remove them from the pot with the help of tongs, place on a baking sheet, and let cool.

  • When the lobsters have cooled enough to handle, remove their meat. First, remove the tail and place it upside down on a chopping board, stick a fork into the tail and pull out the meat. You can break the shell with a lobster or nut cracker. Use the cracker to break the claws and take out their meat.

  • Coarsely chop the meat and place in a bowl. Mix in the celery, red onion, pickled jalapeños, and chipotle mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Put a large skillet over medium-low heat. Rub with butter. Place on the closed buns and let them toast for a minute per side. Remove and gently open without breaking them apart. Break potato chips and use them to make a first base layer, then spoon in a generous amount of the lobster salad. Serve with the serrano cocktail sauce and let your guests decide if and how much they would like.

Homemade Chipotle Mayonnaise

Makes approximately 2 cups


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sauce from chipotles in adobo sauce


  • Place the egg yolks, egg, mustard, lime juice, salt, and pepper into the jar of a blender and process over low speed for a minute. Open the lid and slowly add the oils in a very fine stream until all incorporated. Scrape the mayonnaise into a bowl, stir in the sauce from the chipotles in adobo and set aside. You may refrigerate what you do not use for up to one week.

Serrano Cocktail Sauce

Makes 1 generous cup


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 fresh serrano, stemmed, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons creamy horseradish


  • In a bowl, combine the ketchup, the serrano, and the creamy horseradish. Mix well.

Homemade Horchata

Makes approximately 8 1/4 cups


  • 2 cups extra long white rice
  • 1 stick canela, ceylon or true cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 3 cups boiling hot water
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar


  • Place the rice and cinnamon in a heatproof bowl and cover with the hot water. Let sit anywhere from 2 to 8 hours.

  • When ready to puree the mixture, add the milk and sugar to the rice mixture and stir well. Place in a blender, in batches, and completely puree. Strain into a pitcher as you move along. Serve over ice filled glasses and/or store in the refrigerator.

Café Horchata

Makes 1 serving



  • Pour horchata into a glass filled with the ice. Pour in the espresso, stir and drink!