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Easy Mexican Recipes from Barrio

DineAmic Group's new location gives a preview of deliciousness to come

With Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to test out a new recipe of Mexican cuisine. Take it from “Top Chef” alum Chef Katsuji Tanabe of River North’s upcoming summer addition, Barrio. When we asked about his favorite dish to make for the holiday, he had no hesitation in recommending his house made Salsa Macha.

“I love Cinco de Mayo because it brings awareness of the Mexican culture to America. Plus, Americans like to have a little fun with the day, ” said Chef Tanabe.

That’s why he is taking it one step further this year, by accompanying his authentic recipe with one from Barrio’s mixologist, Adolfo Calderon. He created a signature Pantera Rosa cocktail that guests will love to enjoy at home, or on the patio this summer.

Photo credit Alex Goykhman

Soon you’ll be able to enjoy delicious cocktails and Mexican classics like these on the Barrio patio! The 6,000-square-foot restaurant is set to open in Summer 2017. The menu will incorporate locally sourced, sustainable ingredients with an emphasis on organic, as well as paleo and gluten-free options.

Below is Chef Katsuji Tanabe’s recipe for his “Salsa Macha” and Adolfo Calderon’s recipe for the “Pantera Rosa” that pairs well with the dish.

Salsa Macha 

In a sautée pan, toast 1/2 cup peanuts, 1/4 cups pepita seeds, and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds for five minutes at medium heat. Add 2 cloves of garlic, 3 teaspoons of kosher salt, and 5 dry Chile de árbol—or 1/4 cup of red chile flakes—and toast them for five minutes at medium heat. Transfer all of the ingredients to a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice and 1 cup of light olive oil. Do four quick pulses. Let it sit overnight at room temperature.

Chef Tanabe raves about this recipe. “I love how unexpected this sauce is. The crunch and bitterness is not very common with salsas, but it’s always a hit.”

Pantera Rosa

In a shaker, muddle three pieces of watermelon. Add 2 ounces of Effen cucumber vodka, 1 ounce lime juice, 1 ounce simple syrup. Add ice and shake. Strain into a tall glass and garnish with a cucumber strip and watermelon slice.

By Kaleigh Glaza, Online Editor