6 dishes to serve at your Cinco de Mayo fiesta

PHOTO: Chef Aaron Sanchez shows "The View" how to cook a Cinco de Mayo feat on Friday, May 3, 2019.PlayABC
WATCH Chef Aaron Sanchez cooks a feast for Cinco de Mayo

Master chef Aáron Sanchéz shares some signature dishes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The fiesta spread has a variety of colors, diverse food groups, and are easy to make!

SUMMER SQUASH TOSTADAS WITH RAJAS, ROASTED CORN, CREMA MEXICANA & QUESO FRESCO

PHOTO: Aaron Sanchezs summer squash tostadas with rajas, roasted corn, crema mexicana and queso fresco. Cacique
Aaron Sanchez's summer squash tostadas with rajas, roasted corn, crema mexicana and queso fresco.

WHAT YOU NEED

• 1 poblano pepper

• 1 ear corn

• 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

• ½ medium-sized white onion, thinly sliced into 1/8 inch strips

• 1 yellow squash or zucchini, diced into ¼ inch cubes

• 2 cloves of garlic, minced

• Salt and pepper to taste

• ½ cup Cacique Crema Mexicana

• 4 six-inch tostada shells (store bought is fine)

• ½ cup Cacique Queso Fresco, crumbled

• ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped

• 1 lime, quartered

HOW TO MAKE IT 1. Roast the poblano pepper and corn. You can do this in one of two ways. Place the poblano and corn on a baking sheet and broil on high for 5 to 10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until charred evenly on all sides. Or, using tongs, roast the poblano and corn over an open flame on the stove. Once roasted, set aside the corn until cool enough to handle and then cut the kernels off. Place the pepper in a recloseable plastic bag and seal, or a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and let rest for approximately 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skin away and remove the seeds, then slice into thin strips and set aside.

2. Preheat a heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil.

3. Add the onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until translucent. Next, add the squash and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned and the squash is soft but not mushy. Add the roasted poblano and corn kernels to the pan and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the Cacique Crema Mexicana, combining until everything is well coated. Cook for approximately 2 minutes until the mixture is reduced and thickened. Remove pan from the heat and taste for seasoning.

5. To assemble the tostadas, spoon the squash, onion, poblano and corn mixture evenly onto each shell. Garnish with Cacique Queso Fresco and fresh cilantro, then serve warm with a lime wedge on the side.

AARÓN’S GUACAMOLE

PHOTO: Aaron Sanchezs guacamole with fresh cilantro Cocina
Aaron Sanchez's guacamole with fresh cilantro

WHAT YOU NEED
• 1 Serrano Chile

• 1 White Onion

• 1/3 cup Fresh Cilantro

• Juice of 3 Limes

• 4 Avocados

• Pinch of Mexican Oregano

• Pinch of Sea Salt

• 2-3 Roma Tomatoes

• 1/3 cup Queso Fresco or Queso Cotija

• 1 Radish, sliced

• 1/3 cup Dried Chapulines (Mexican Grasshoppers), optional

HOW TO MAKE IT
1. Create a flavor base blending the serrano chile, cut in chunks and keeping the seeds, with 1/2 of the onion, a generous heap of cilantro and the lime juice.

2. Cut the avocados in half and remove the seeds. Place in a bowl.

3. Season the avocados with salt and oregano, and then mash them all together. Do not mash too smooth.

4. Flavor the guacamole with the serrano purée to taste.

5. Add finely chopped onion and tomatoes to the guacamole and combine. Season to taste with more salt and oregano.

6. Serve with a pinch of queso fresco or queso cotija and sliced radish.

7. For authentic Mexican flavor try adding a spoonful of dried chapulines.

8. Enjoy with warm tortilla chips and a margarita.

WATERMELON, ARUGULA & QUESO FRESCO SALAD WITH CHILES DE ARBOL

PHOTO: Aaron Sanchezs Watermelon, arugula and queso fresco salad with chiles de arbol Cacique
Aaron Sanchez's Watermelon, arugula and queso fresco salad with chiles de arbol

WHAT YOU NEED
• ½ of a small seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)

• 4 cups fresh arugula

• 1 cup crumbled Cacique Queso Fresco

FOR THE DRESSING • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

• 1 large shallot, minced

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• ¼ teaspoon crumbled chiles de Arbol (or red pepper flakes), plus more for sprinkling

HOW TO MAKE IT

1. Place the watermelon, arugula and Queso Fresco in a large serving dish and toss lightly together.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and shallot. Stir in a light sprinkle of salt and pepper and the crumbled chiles.

3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to coat well. Sprinkle the salad lightly with a little more crumbled chiles as garnish and serve at once.

EMBER ROASTED BEET SALAD WITH WHIPPED QUESO FRESCO AND CILANTRO-COTIJA PESTO

PHOTO: Ember roasted beet salad with whipped queso fresco and cilantro-cotija pesto Damien Noble Andrews/Cacique
Ember roasted beet salad with whipped queso fresco and cilantro-cotija pesto

WHAT YOU NEED

FOR THE EMBER ROASTED BEER SALAD
• 2 cups Cacique Queso Fresco

• 4 large fresh beets, stems removed

• 4 sprigs fresh thyme

• 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

• 6 tablespoons cilantro pesto (recipe below)

• 1.5 oz. baby arugula

• ½ bunch fresh cilantro, just leaves

• 1 cup roasted jalapeno vinaigrette (recipe below)

• ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

• ½ cup pickled onions

• 3 radishes, sliced thin

• Salt and fresh black pepper

FOR THE ROASTED JALAPEÑO VINAIGRETTE • 1 jalapeño, roasted and minced

• 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

• 1 lime, juiced and zested

• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

• 1 garlic clove, grated

• 1 tablespoon agave syrup

• Salt and fresh black pepper

• 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE CILANTRO PESTO • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

• ½ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds

• 3 bunches fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

• 1 cup olive oil

• ½ jalapeño, chopped

• ½ cup of Cacique Cotija Cheese

HOW TO MAKE IT

1. For the beets: Preheat a charcoal grill. Once the charcoal embers are glowing and the flame dies down, gently spread the embers into an even layer on the bottom of the grill.

2. Drizzle whole beets with oil, salt and pepper. Coat the beets with at least 2 layers of oil and roast, wrapped in foil, on the grill for about 30 minutes or until fork tender. This can also be done in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes if you don’t have a grill. Let the beets cool and then peel off the skin and cut into bite sized pieces.

3. For the Roasted Jalapeño Vinaigrette: Place jalapeño pepper on the grill and char on all sides. Place in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 10 minutes. Once cooled, remove the skin and the seeds. Chop the jalapeño and grate the garlic on a microplane and mix in a small bowl with the lime juice, lime zest, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and agave syrup. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. For the Cilantro Pesto: Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add salt to taste.

5. To Assemble: In a food processor whip Cacique Queso Fresco until smooth. Place a ‘swoosh’ of the cheese on plate. In a bowl, toss the beets in about ½ cup of the jalapeño vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper as needed. Arrange the beets directly on top of the whipped cheese. Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of the pesto on and around the beets.

6. In a separate bowl, toss the arugula, cilantro, sliced radishes and pickled onions with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and place on top of the beets. Finish with the toasted pumpkin seeds.

SWEET & SAVORY EMPANADAS WITH QUESO FRESCO

PHOTO: Aaron Sanchezs sweet and savory empanadas with queso fresco Cacique
Aaron Sanchez's sweet and savory empanadas with queso fresco

WHAT YOU NEED

• 1 lb. flour

• ½ tsp. salt

• ½ lb. butter, chilled and cut into small cubes, plus 2 Tbsp. butter

• 1 egg

• 1 cup ice water

FOR THE FILLING • ½ cup white onion, small dice

• 1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped

• 1 package (10 oz.) Cacique Queso Fresco, crumbled

• 1 package (10 oz.) Cacique Queso Cotija, crumbled

• ½ cup chopped toasted almonds

• ½ cup golden raisins

• Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water)

• Salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the ½ pound of chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg. Slowly add water, as needed, mixing to form the dough, until well blended.

2. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and knead gently until the dough becomes smooth, only a few seconds. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. (Note: Empanada dough can also be found at a Hispanic market in the frozen section or substitute puff pastry).

3. For filling: Over medium heat, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter for 5 minutes, then add spinach and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Drain any liquid there may be in the pan. Cool and then combine with cheeses, almonds and raisins.

4. For assembly: On a lightly floured surface, roll half the chilled dough to 1/8-inch thick (keep the other half refrigerated until ready to use). Cut out 3-inch circles. Spoon about 1 heaping spoonful of the filling into the center of each circle. Brush egg wash around the edges of the dough. Fold the edges up forming a pouch, and seal.

5. Refrigerate the empanadas on greased or parchment-lined baking sheets at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the empanadas with egg wash and bake until golden brown for about 25 minutes.

CHICKEN FLAUTAS

PHOTO: Aaron Sanchezs chicken flautas with abado and pickled onions Cacique
Aaron Sanchez's chicken flautas with abado and pickled onions

WHAT YOU NEED
• 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs

• Kosher salt

• Fresh ground black pepper

• ½ cup Aarón’s Adobo (see recipe below)

• ½ cup Garlic Chipotle Love (see recipe below)

• 24 4-inch corn tortillas

• Canola oil, for frying

TOPPINGS • Guacamole

• Valentina hot sauce

• Cacique Crema Mexicana

• Pickled onions (see recipe below)

• Cacique Queso Fresco, crumbled

• Cilantro

• 3 limes, halved

AARÓN’S ADOBO • ¼ cup cumin seeds

• ¼ cup coriander seeds

• ¼ cup fennel seeds

• ¼ cup yellow mustard seeds

• 2 pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces

• 2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces

• ½ cup dried whole oregano (preferably Mexican)

• 2 tablespoons onion powder

• 2 tablespoons garlic powder

• ¼ cup Spanish paprika (pimento), preferably sweet or hot

GARLIC-CHIPOTLE LOVE • 1 cup canola oil

• 12 garlic cloves, peeled

• 3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

• ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

• Grated zest of 1 lime

• 1 teaspoon salt

PICKLED ONIONS • 1½ cups red wine vinegar

• 1 cup water

• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

• 6 whole cloves

• 2 bay leaves

• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)

• ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

• 2 large red onions, thinly sliced

HOW TO MAKE IT
1. Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper and Aarón’s adobo. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Cook the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the garlic chipotle love. Season with salt to taste.

3. Place approximately 2 ounces of the shredded chicken into each tortilla, tightly roll and skewer through the middle. Continue to stack more flautas on each skewer until you have 3 to 4 on a single skewer.

4. Heat oil in a fryer to 375°F, then one at a time, carefully lower the skewered flautas into the oil and fry for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, until they are crispy and golden brown. Remove from fryer and let rest on a paper towel line plate to remove excess oil.

5. To plate, spread guacamole on the bottom of the plate, carefully remove the flautas from the skewers and place on top of the guacamole. Drizzle the flautas with hot sauce, followed by Cacique Crema Mexicana and pickled onions. Top with crumbled Cacique Queso Fresco and garnish with cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice.

6. AARÓN’S ADOBO: Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the cumin, coriander, fennel, and mustard seeds along with the pieces of pasilla and ancho chiles. Toast, stirring constantly, until it’s very aromatic and just beings to smoke, about 3 minutes. Dump the mixture onto a plate and let it cool to room temperature. Grind it to a fine powder in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Put the powder in a large bowl and add the oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Stir them really well to combine. Store the adobo in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag in a cool, dark place for up to a month.

7. GARLIC-CHIPOTLE LOVE: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Pour the oil into a heavy ovenproof medium saucepan and add the garlic. Cover the pot with foil, put it in the oven, and cook until the garlic turns a nutty brown and is really soft (think cream cheese), about 45 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and let the garlic and oil cool to room temperature. Put the garlic and the now garlic-infused oil in a food processor or blender. Add the chipotles and sauce, cilantro, lime zest, and salt and puree until the mixture is very smooth. Store in the fridge in a tightly covered container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to a month.

8. PICKLED ONIONS: Combine all ingredients except the onions in a heavy medium saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the onion slices, separating them into individual rings. Let the mixture come back to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook until onions soften and wilt, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and let the mixture cool completely. Transfer the onions and their pickling liquid to a quart-size glass jar or divide among Tupperware. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.