THE FORGOTTEN SHELLFISH LEGACY OF MEXICO'S JOSEFINA VELAZQUEZ DE LEON

Before Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy, Josefina Velázquez de León was the queen of the Mexican kitchen.

Josefina Velázquez de León, who died in 1968, is one of the most important figure in the history of Mexican gastronomy. From the 1930s to the 1960s, she wrote and published more than 140 cookbooks on topics ranging from flavorful meat meals to regional shellfish dishes.

She ran a successful cooking school in Mexico City, hosted her own TV show, wrote a magazine column, and spoke on the radio. She was the original Mexican celebrity chef, and at one point, one could find her books in nearly every middle-class home in Mexico.

But she was also—even if she never identified herself that way—the country’s first culinary anthropologist, documenting for the first time on a broad scale what most Mexicans actually ate. No one has matched her output and zeal, or done more to shape Mexican food’s culinary identity, including its seafood heritage.

Her most important book, the Mexican Cook Book Devoted to American Homes, was her only bilingual work. Its pages provide many outstanding recipes, include a recipe for Acapulco‘s famed ceviche.

Such authentic recipes have resulted in the book remains a classic – one sought after by professional chefs for over 70 years! Original copies today often sell for over $1,000!

Her many books are, in summation, a vital link between the past and the present, and required reading for anyone looking to truly understand Mexican cooking then and now.

Her joint legacy of heritage and innovation is carried on today by many of Latin America’s finest chefs – many of whom will be speaking at The Culinary Institute of America’s 2016 Worlds on Flavor Conference on April 20-22, 2016 in St Helena, California. Taylor Shellfish Farms is honored to be among those attending. Will you be there?

Ceviche Acapulco Style

 Ingrdients

  • 1 lb shucked shellfish (Taylor mussels, clams and oysters)
  • ½ lb. tomatoes
  • 5 lemons
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 onion
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 4 pickled serrano chiles
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Place shellfish in a china or glass dish.
  2. Pour lemon juice over all.
  3. Let stand for 3 hours.
  4. Turn the pieces with a wooden spoon from time to time.
  5. Skin and dice the tomatoes.
  6. Add to the shellfish.
  7. Add the sliced chiles, oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.
  8. Chill and serve ice cold in sherbet glasses.
  9. Garnished with slices of onion, lemon, parsley, and avocado.