What to Eat: Cinco de Mayo

Any menu involving tequila and tasty Mexican food is sure to turn into a fiesta, and these recipes from some of the region’s most impressive chefs will help make this year’s celebration the most memorable yet.

Margaritasby Jane Butel

Arguably the most important part of any Mexican fiesta, this drink will make or break a Cinco celebration; this recipe from the Queen of Tex-Mex will definitely do the trick.

No one knows where the margarita came from—maybe bartender Danny Negrete invented the cocktail in 1936 for his sister-in-law, Margarita; maybe bartender Don Carlos Orozco invented the cocktail in 1941 for Margarita Henkel, the daughter of the German ambassador to Mexico; or maybe bartender Santos Cruz invented the drink in 1948 for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. But whoever invented the drink, and whomever the drink was invented for, everyone can agree that the margarita is one of the most popular cocktail inventions to date—and for good reason. Aside from tasting absolutely delicious, there are few other ways to get a party started quite so quickly.

Click here for the recipe.

Chunky Guacamoleby Rick Bayless

This James Beard Award winner may have revolutionized the Mexican food scene as we know it, but in this dish he demonstrates simply how to perfect a classic—in the tastiest way possible.

No Cinco de Mayo celebration would be complete without an abundant bowl of guacamole. And lucky for us, avocados are finally coming into season, making this dip rich, creamy, and so flavorful. And while guacamole can be dressed up in a million and a half ways—mango, pomegranate seeds, bell peppers, you name it—this classic version is what hits the spot. Onion, chiles, fresh cilantro, lime juice, and salt bring out the flavor of the avocado, which is left chunky for maximum chip-dipping enjoyment.

Click here for the recipe.

Little Peppers Stuffed with Garlic, Shrimp, and Oaxaca Cheeseby Deborah Schneider

The woman behind some of the most ingenious and delicious Mexican recipes out there today shares her secret for a dish that puts the rudimentary burrito to shame.

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, award-winning Latin recipe queen Deborah Schneider is out with a new book, Amor y Tacos. Filled with inventive takes on Mexican tacos, antojitos (or snacks), and of course tequila-based cocktails, this is the newest addition to our go-to Mexican cookbook collection. Here’s an example: her recipe for Toritos—spicy and sweet little peppers that ooze with cheese, garlic, and shrimp. Not only can they be prepared in advance—a huge plus for anyone throwing a party—but they’re just unusual enough to steal the mealtime show.

Click here for the recipe.

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Swiss Enchiladasby Roberto Santibañez

Hailing from the motherland itself, this Mexico-born chef will help at-home chefs serve up a fantastic meal that will have everyone saying “muchas gracias.”

When cooking for a crowd, sometimes it’s better to err on the side of “they’re going to totally love this dish” rather than “they’re going to be so impressed by this dish” or “I bet no one is going to have ever tried this dish before.” And that’s where Enchiladas Suizas come in. Filled with shredded chicken, topped with lots of melted cheese and a rich green salsa, and baked until bubbling and golden brown, these enchiladas won’t win any awards for inventiveness, but they will definitely make everyone happy.

Click here for the recipe.

Date and Mexican Chocolate Ricotta Frittersby Marcela Valladolid

From television to magazines, this chef has been bringing her expertise in all things Mexican to people far and wide—and now she offers up a divine dessert.

Chocolate is a surefire way to end any meal on a high note. Mexican chocolate—enhanced with spices, most often cinnamon—adds an element of intrigue. These fritters are sweet and spicy, rich and chewy, with a hint of orange and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Click here for the recipe.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.